Mother of seven who took refuge in Garda station put on probation
A mother who publicised the homeless crisis by posting photos of her seven children sleeping in a Garda station has been put on probation for shoplifting.
Margaret Cash (28) stole clothing worth more than €300 from Penneys in Rathfarnham in February this year, Tallaght District Court was told.
Judge Patricia McNamara ordered Cash to enter into a probation bond for one year when she appeared for sentencing yesterday.
The judge warned Cash not to give in to "temptation" and to stay out of trouble, asking her: "Where will your children be, if you end up in prison?"
At a previous hearing, the defendant, living in B&B accommodation, admitted stealing clothes worth €321 from Penneys on February 17, 2018.
The judge ordered a probation report before sentencing.
The court heard Cash had 38 previous convictions, 37 for road traffic matters. Her last conviction, for theft, was in 2017.
Judge McNamara asked Sergeant Michael Ahern if Cash had come to the attention of gardaí since the shoplifting. Sgt Ahern replied: "No."
He added the property from Penneys was not recovered.
The judge noted Cash was a homeless mother with seven children.
She told Cash she had read the probation report, and noted "issues in your background and your personal circumstances which cannot be ignored".
However, she said, Cash could not go around committing thefts.
As part of the one-year probation bond, Cash has been ordered to continue working with the probation services, and to engage with the local housing authority and homeless support services.
Judge McNamara warned Cash to "stay away from drugs" but Cash and her solicitor Kevin Tunney said drugs were not an issue.
She insisted she has last taken drugs as a teenager, before having children.
Last August, the photos of Cash's children sleeping in Tallaght garda station went viral after she posted them on social media.