A senior member of the Defence Forces "keyed" a car belonging to his ex-partner's new boyfriend after the pair got together while he was on an overseas tour of duty.
Christopher Feeney (54) was passing by his former partner's house drunk one night when he saw the car outside and scratched the boot of the Mercedes in an "idiotic" act, a court heard.
Judge Colin Daly applied the Probation Act, leaving him without a criminal record.
Feeney, of St Mary's Drive, Crumlin, pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage at Errigal Road, Drimnagh.
Garda Sergeant Dave Kelly told Dublin District Court the accused was seen on CCTV at 2.20am on June 20 causing damage to the boot of a Mercedes.
The car was badly scratched and the value of the damage was €800.
Feeney had been abroad on tour with the defence forces and came back to find his former partner had "taken up with someone new", his lawyer said.
This person was living in the house that Feeney owned, he said, and "the car that he damaged is the car of his former partner's new partner".
A victim impact statement was submitted to the court.
The accused was drunk on the night, and as he walked by the vehicle he keyed it.
Documents from the Defence Forces were handed in to court and the judge was told the accused "recognises what he did was out of order".
"It was an idiotic thing he did when he was drunk one night," his lawyer said.
After causing the damage, the accused had written offering to pay compensation and sent an €800 money order, which was rejected.
Mr Feeney had an "excellent and long record in the defence forces", his lawyer added.
He was dealing with his alcohol use issue.
Feeney was very worried about the effect a conviction could have on his career, and if he were convicted his superior officers "may consider whether he can continue to work in the Defence Forces", the lawyer said.
He agreed with the judge that this was "not a foregone conclusion".
Judge Daly said he was putting the case at the lower end of the scale of criminal damage an gave the accused credit for his early guilty plea.
He dismissed the charge under the Probation of Offenders Act.