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Serial burglar jailed for 'astounding' home raids

A serial Ballyfermot burglar who targeted houses and businesses near his home has been given a six-year jail sentence.

Alan McDonagh (25) has 139 previous convictions, including 28 for burglaries, 12 for theft, and six for handling stolen property. He stole thousands of euro worth of jewellery and electrical goods and ripped out a copper emersion tank in one home to fund his heroin and crack cocaine habits.

McDonagh, formerly of Kylemore Avenue, but who was sleeping rough at the time, pleaded guilty to six counts of burglary and one count of criminal damage at locations around Ballyfermot on dates between April and September 2007.

Judge Frank O'Donnell imposed concurrent sentences totalling six years and suspended the final year on strict conditions. He said people in their homes had to be protected after hearing of his "astounding" criminal record.

A homeowner at Lally Road found her home burgled and wrecked in April, 2007.

Among the €8,000 haul was jewellery of huge sentimental value such as chains and bracelets belonging to her grandmothers and a chain made from her father's wedding ring. None of the items was recovered.

In June, 2007, a Chapelizod resident arrived home and after noticing that her patio door was broken became aware there was someone in the house.

She called out and McDonagh called back: "You know me." She believed she recognised him from a neighbouring house and relaxed.

McDonagh told her that he had "chased two fellas out of the house" and that they had stabbed him. She saw he was injured and told him to wait while she called the gardai. McDonagh then fled.

McDonagh also admitted a number of raids on local businesses when he had got away with items worth thousands.