A YOUTH, who began abusing alcohol when he was aged seven, has been given a one-month sentence for stealing drinks.
The Dublin Children's Court heard that the boy, aged 17, has amassed more than 70 criminal convictions directly linked to his drinking problem.
The 17-year-old, who is already serving a sentence for earlier crimes, had pleaded guilty in December to stealing alcohol from two shops on Dublin's O'Connell Street, on August 1 last year.
His sentencing had been delayed because he did not have a parent in court but Judge John O'Connor finalised the case after the boy's father attended the hearing.
During the initial hearing last month, Judge O'Connor heard at the city's juvenile court that the teen stole three bottles of an alcoholic drink at about 4am and later that day he went to another shop and took a can of beer.
The judge heard that the teenager already has 71 prior criminal convictions and is currently serving a sentence which will expire in September 2015.
The juvenile court had heard that 29 of the teen's previous offences were under the Public Order Act and he had 15 convictions under the Theft Act which included robberies and burglaries.
He also had six recorded convictions for motoring offences, three for carrying knives and two for assault causing harm, and had received several detention sentences over the past two years.
Defence solicitor Gareth Noble had told Judge O'Connor that the bulk of the boy's previous crimes related to theft and public order offences.
“Alcohol has been his biggest enemy from an early stage,” the lawyer had said, adding that the teenager has been coming before the courts since 2006.
The court heard that welfare reports indicated that his drink problem began when he was aged seven, and it was then noticed that: “he would be at school under the influence or in possession of alcohol”.
The defence lawyer had also said the boy has come to realise that his offending behaviour was directly linked to his drinking problem.