Grandad ordered meals without paying

Andrew Phelan

A GRANDFATHER who repeatedly ordered meals in restaurants and ate them without paying had been under stress following a separation, a court heard.

Ronald Mackey (58) admitted two charges of stealing meals at a hotel and restaurant in Dublin city centre.

Judge Anthony Halpin fined him €200 at Dublin District Court

Mackey, a father-of-five of Ballitore Hill, Ballitore, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty to theft of a meal worth €56 at the Gresham Hotel, O'Connell Street on Decemeber 10, 2014 and a meal worth €26 at Smith's Pub, Jervis Street the following day.

He had 41 previous convictions and the "majority of them would be along those lines," his solicitor Stephen O'Mahony said.

"I don't think he's ever committed an offence while sober," Mr O'Mahony said. "He will commit the offence, staff will come upon him and he usually stays put until the gardai arrive. Obviously there are losses suffered by the various restaurants," he said.

The accused was usually alone and had scant memory of what happened when he woke up later in the garda station.

The court heard he had gone through a separation and this was causing him a lot of stress.

The defendant was a "community man" who had been heavily involved in the GAA in Kildare.