herald

Wednesday 17 October 2018

'Despicable' thief released for son's first communion

Amanda Hayes has been in jail
Amanda Hayes has been in jail

A mother-of-two has had her wish granted to be able to attend her son's first Holy Communion later this month.

At Ennis District Court yesterday, Amanda Hayes (27) walked free from court on bail that will now allow her to attend the family event at the end of the month.

Ms Hayes has spent the last six weeks in jail on remand waiting to be sentenced for a number of recent drug-fuelled thefts, including stealing the contents of a Trocaire and an Irish Heart Foundation charity collection box from an Insomnia coffee outlet in Shannon in February.

Letter

Last week, Ms Hayes penned a letter to Judge Patrick Durcan asking that he allow her to leave prison temporarily to attend the first Holy Communion of her son, scheduled for the end of this month.

A long-time drug addict, Ms Hayes lost her own mother at the age of 11 in a car accident.

In court yesterday, her solicitor Shiofra Hassett said that being released from jail for the first Holy Communion was the first thing that Ms Hayes brings up in any consultation.

"Ms Hayes has said that she is extremely anxious to be able to attend this event," said Ms Hassett.

"She had quite a difficult childhood and is very conscious that she should be there for those important moments in her own children's lives."

Ms Hassett said that Ms Hayes knows that she has let her two children down in the past "and the possibility that she won't be there for an important moment in her child's life has led her to bring some awakening over the last number of weeks".

Ms Hassett admitted that the thefts at the Insomnia outlet were "despicable in nature".

She said: "They occurred at a time when her addiction got the better of her and at a time when her addiction was at an all-time low."

Ms Hayes has 23 previous theft convictions and is now on a methadone programme.

Judge Durcan said that he would release Ms Hayes from jail forthwith and remand her on bail to appear before the court again in October.

Judge Durcan said that a condition of bail was that Ms Hayes comply with all directions of the Probation Service. Judge Durcan granted Ms Hayes bail after the Probation Service put in place a plan for Ms Hayes.

He warned Ms Hayes that if she stepped out of line, she will serve an eight-month jail term for the thefts.

Sentence

Last year, Ms Hayes was released from prison after she served a three-year sentence with the final 18 months suspended for making a false allegation of rape in 2014.

In that case, Ms Hayes, of Inis Eagla, Shannon, sparked a needless six-week-long pursuit by gardai for a rapist.

The investigation - that included gardai making 30 separate house calls in Shannon - followed Ms Hayes falsely reporting to gardai that she was raped by a man wearing a hoodie in the early hours of St Stephen's Day in 2014 at Drumgeely in Shannon.

After the report, Ms Hayes was then taken to the Sexual Assault Unit at Galway University Hospital for a forensic examination where she elaborated on her initial complaint to the doctor examining her.