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Out-of-control teen's threats to city priest

A TEENAGER threatened a priest during a burglary on a Dublin church.

The 17-year-old was wearing a mask when he and an accomplice, armed with a hammer, threatened the priest at St Monica's church in Raheny.

The pair demanded that he priest open the church safe, the Dublin Children's Court heard.

A probation report on his likelihood of reoffending had been requested by the court at a previous stage.

The court heard that there was a negative report on the out-of-control teen. The case was adjourned for him to have a final opportunity to co-operate with the Probation services.

Judge Bryan Smyth remanded him to appear again in December for sentencing.

The teen, who has no prior convictions, admitted a litany of burglary, trespassing, criminal damage and drugs offences which happened from May of last year until January, in the Raheny district.

Garda Kevin Farrell said that on December 16 the boy and an accomplice "forced entry into St Monica's Church wearing balaclavas."

"They made their way to the sacristy and tried to open a safe; the silent alarm was triggered, the priest entered to deactivate it and was confronted by both males," said Garda Farrell.

The pair threatened the priest so that he would open the safe but he did not have the key and they fled empty-handed.

Garda Eoin Beatty told the court the teen claimed responsibility for a heroin cache worth €1,200 which was recovered during a search of a house in north Dublin.

On October 5, the teen broke a lock to an apartment building; on October 19 he was found in possession of €20 worth of herbal cannabis.

On November 25 while trespassing, he caused €400 worth of damages to an electrical fuse box at an apartment complex; on January 1, he broke a lock leading to an apartment block and caused €80 worth of damage.

On January 30 he wrecked a car park machine and caused €900 worth of damage when he tried to prise it open with a screwdriver.

The court has heard that the boy had a drug problem.

Strict bail terms have been set including a curfew from 10pm to 8am, to reside at his family home and to sign on three times a week at his local garda station.