A grandfather caught driving without insurance for the seventh time was in debt and gave in to "temptation" to use a car to do a day's work, a court heard.
Edward Merriman (69) was given a six-month suspended sentence and banned from driving for four years. Agreeing not to jail him, Judge Anthony Halpin remarked that Mountjoy Prison "looked like a hotel".
Merriman, of Griffeen Glen Crescent, Griffeen Valley, Lucan, admitted uninsured driving.
Dublin District Court heard the accused had been given a sentence for a separate offence and his state pension was suspended.
As a result, he and his wife fell "deeper and deeper into debt", his lawyer said.
He was on temporary release from prison when he appeared in court and the pension had not yet been re-instated.
A garda sergeant said the incident happened at the Outer Ring Road, Clondalkin, on February 9 last year.
As well as having no insurance, the accused had no road tax or NCT certificate on the vehicle and was not wearing a seatbelt. He had six previous convictions for uninsured driving and had been banned from driving for 10 years in 2008.
Merriman has four children and eight grandchildren.
"On this day, he was offered a day's work," his lawyer said.
"He was tempted to take the opportunity to relieve some of the debt."
The accused's time in custody had been "a harsh experience for a man of his age".
"I have a different view of custody - Mountjoy looks like a hotel," said Judge Halpin.
The lawyer responded: "The shock didn't necessarily come from the specifications of the accommodation but the deprivation of liberty."