TWO mothers who stole nearly €1,800 worth of children's clothing from a supermarket, in what was described as an act of desperation, may escape a conviction if they make a charitable donation.
Judge Grainne O'Neill said she will apply the Probation Act if both women make a donation of €300 each to a charity before February.
Eileen McDonagh (36) and Carolyn Ward (29) - both with an address at Tara Lawns, Belcamp Lane in Dublin 17 - pleaded guilty to the theft of clothing valued at €1,782.35 from Tesco Extra at Millfield Shopping Centre in Balbriggan on October 25.
Sergeant Tony Tighe told Balbriggan District Court that the women filled a shopping trolley with the clothes and left the store without paying for the items.
They were detained by security staff and the clothes were recovered. Both women have no previous convictions.
The defendants' solicitor told the court it "wasn't the most sophisticated of operations", and that there did not seem to be any planning gone into it at all.
"They were never going to get away with it," the solicitor said.
"It was an act of desperation and a stupid decision.
"Not much planning had gone into this," the solicitor explained.
Ward, who is a mother of three, is going through a difficult time, the solicitor told the court, adding that McDonagh has one child.
"Both women are on social welfare and are asking the court to give them one chance," the solicitor said.
Judge Grainne O'Neill said she is not sure she can accept that it was a spur of the moment act.
"The amount is of concern," said Judge O'Neill.
"I am not sure if I can accept it was a spur of the moment act but I do accept that it was not the act of a criminal mastermind."
She remanded the pair on continuing bail until next February for them to pay the charitable donations.
She said if the donations are paid by February she will apply the Probation Act.