A FORMER club football team-mate of Kerry AllIreland-winning captain Liam Hassett was charged this week with breaking into the Hassett family home outside Killorglin on the night of Friday, January 4/Saturday, January 5.

John Houlihan, aged 27, has been charged with the alleged offence and faces seven further burglary charges in the locality over a four-year period. He was arrested on Saturday evening in Kerry Airport as he disembarked a flight from Dublin.

Houlihan, who works as a carer in Killorglin town and gave his address as Douglas, Killorglin, appeared before a special sitting at Killarney courthouse on Monday where Garda Eamon Prendiville said the defendant made no reply to all charges on arrest.

The most recent of the alleged offences concerns the home of Mike Hassett, Glounaguillough, where Mr Houlihan is accused of entering as a trespasser with the intent to commit an arrestable offence sometime between Friday, January 4, and Saturday, January 5.

Similar charges concern the home of Denis Costello, Douglas, between April 8 and April 9, 2012, and the home of Joan Connell, Ballykissane, Killorglin, where Mr Houlihan is accused of entering on two separate occasions between January 1, 2009, and January 1, 2010.

He faces further burglary charges at Gurrane East on December 2 and December 9, 2011; at Tulligmore, Killorglin, on December 22, 2011, and at the home Eve Birdthistle, Valentine Cottage, Douglas, where he is charged with entering through a bathroom window and stealing a black leather handbag containing €300 cash on December 15, 2011.

Inspector Fearghal Patwell said the State consented to bail with strict conditions, including a curfew at his family home in Douglas between 9pm and 8am and that he sign on at Killorglin Garda Station three times per week. The defendant's passport has already been confiscated and he is not allowed to apply for a replacement.

Solicitor Pádraig O'Connell said his client who works as a carer in Killorglin, had co-operated fully with gardaí and will require medical care.

Applying for legal aid, the judge requested that the defendant bring a copy of his Bank of Ireland bank book with him when he returns to the court. In reply to a query from the judge Mr O'Connell added that his client also had an account with Paddy Powers bookmakers and had spent his wages on gambling.

Mr Houlihan is a former Laune Rangers GAA Club player who transferred to Cromane GAA club two years ago. He is a member of Cromane Rowing Club and also coaches the Laune Rangers GAA ladies football team. He is to return to Killorglin District Court on Thursday, February 14.

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