A FORMER deputy head of security at Croke Park who stole seven booklets of premium GAA season tickets in an effort to pay off his son's debt has avoided jail.
John Gibson (45) had access to all areas at the stadium while he was working there with Brinks Allied. He was based at the security desk at the Hogan Stand and has since resigned.
Each booklet had a total of 33 tickets allowing admission into each game at Croke Park for the GAA season of 2014.
The seven booklets had a total value of €9,313.
The court heard that there is no entitlement to sell off tickets individually so the booklets were effectively worthless and Gibson never made a profit from them.
Gibson of St Catherine's Gate, Rush, Co Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to theft of the booklets from Croke Park on dates between January and March 2014. He had no previous convictions.
Judge Martin Nolan sentenced Gibson to 18 months in prison, which he suspended in full.
He said he believed that Gibson had already suffered through his loss of employment and accepted he had shown remorse for the offence.
"He is a decent man who made a serious mistake on the day in question," said Judge Nolan, adding that it was "painfully obvious" that he didn't deserve a jail sentence.
Detective Garda Fergal Flynn told Cormac Quinn BL, prosecuting, that the GAA spotted the tickets for sale on a website and immediately cancelled them.
A member of the public later informed officials that their partner had received two season tickets from Gibson after that man had done work at Croke Park.
Gda Flynn said Gibson was arrested on March 24, 2014, and made full admissions.
He said he still had four booklets at his home, he had given two booklets to his partner, two to his boss at Brinks and two tickets to a barman.
He told gardaí in interview that he saw the booklets in the ticket office and just took them.
Gda Flynn further accepted that his action was "instinctive and impulsive and he did so because his son was under pressure with a debt".