Sunday 24 February 2019

Mother freed for son's Communion misses it as thefts land her in jail

Amanda Hayes
Amanda Hayes

A woman is back behind bars and will miss her son's First Holy Communion today after being caught stealing children's clothes from Dunnes Stores two days before the celebration.

Judge Patrick Durcan freed Amanda Hayes (27) on bail last week after desperate pleas from the mother-of-two that she be allowed out of jail to attend her son's first Holy Communion today in Shannon.

The serial thief had spent the previous six weeks on remand in Limerick Prison after a spate of drug-fuelled thefts around Shannon, including stealing the contents of a Trocaire and Irish Heart Foundation charity collection box from an Insomnia coffee outlet in February.


Hayes had begged Judge Durcan to be let out of jail for her son's Communion.

However, only nine days after being released, she is back behind bars after a thieving spree in the Shannon Skycourt Centre on Thursday.

A deflated-looking Hayes was back before Ennis District Court yesterday, when she was remanded in custody only 24 hours before the long-anticipated family occasion.

Hayes is charged with stealing children's clothes and shoes valued at €52 from Dunnes Stores in Shannon Skycourt Centre.

During the spate of thefts, she also stole an Adidas top and pants worth €124 from Lifestyle Sports and clothing and footwear from Dealz worth €75.

Hayes' solicitor, Darragh Hassett, said that his client will be entering a guilty plea to the charges.

Hayes said "I'm sorry" in reply to the Lifestyle Sports theft and no reply to the other two charges.

Insp Kieran Ruane told the court that gardai would be strongly objecting to bail, and Mr Hassett said there would be no application.

Insp Ruane said Hayes could be remanded in custody to next Wednesday's sitting of Ennis District Court.

Mr Hassett said the State could re-enter the raft of other cases against Hayes on that date and she could be sentenced on all of the cases that day.

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

Making the plea last week for her to be released for her son's first Communion, her solicitor Shiofra Hassett said: "Ms Hayes has said that she is extremely anxious to be able to attend this event.

"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 Hayes knew 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 to bring some awakening over the last number of weeks".


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

"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," she said.

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

Last week, Judge Durcan released Hayes from jail and remanded her on bail to October.

A condition of that bail was that she comply with all directions of the Probation Service.

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

Last year, Hayes was released from prison after she served a three-year jail term, with the final 18 months suspended, for making a false rape allegation.

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

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