By Sonya McLean
A man who carried out four robberies five ago and then a further four robberies last year has been jailed for seven years.
John Daly (41) used a variety of weapons, including a large kitchen knife, a claw hammer, a screwdriver and a bottle of beer to threaten staff in Dublin pharmacies, convenience stores and a bookmakers before he took over €2,562 and various drugs.
He was arrested after gardaí identified him as a suspect having viewed CCTV footage from the various premises.
Daly of Westbourne Close, Clondalkin, and Kilmahuddirck Road, also Clondalkin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the four robberies between dates in August 2016 and October 2016 and a further four robberies on dates between June 2020 and September 27, 2020.
Daly has 76 previous convictions, 23 of which are for robbery, dealt with in the Circuit Criminal Court.
The court heard that Daly was on bail when he carried out three robberies in June 2020 after he was charged with the 2016 robberies in October of that year.
His case was thrown out on September 25, 2020, for the June 2020 robberies because the book of evidence was not prepared in time and Daly was released without charge.
He then committed a further robbery two days later, robbing the same premises and threatening the same staff member he did during the raid of convenience store on June 14, 2020.
Daly was arrested on October 2, 2020, after he was identified as a suspect in the robbery on September 27, 2020, when investigating gardaí viewed CCTV footage of the raid.
He has been remanded in custody since.
Each of the gardaí who gave evidence agreed with John Noonan BL, defending, that Daly is a long-term drug user who has had various difficulties in his family background.
Mr Noonan suggested to Judge Melanie Greally that Daly has had limited insight into his offending and drug addiction up until recently and referred to a psychologist report before the court.
He said he has spent much of his adult life in prison and asked the court to accept that a letter written by Daly indicates that he has not had any assistance when he has been released from prison.
He also has not previously engaged with drug addiction programmes while in custody.
Mr Noonan said Daly is beginning to understand now that “change starts with himself”.
“He is sorry to the victims of his crimes, but he is now determined to deal with his past and become a better person in the future,” counsel said.
Mr Noonan submitted to court that there is “a glimmer of light now” in relation to his client and asked that he be given “some light at the end of the tunnel” to motivate him in his rehabilitation.
Judge Melanie Greally noted from the various victim impact statements before the court the adverse effect the robberies had on the staff members.
She said that one victim, who was pregnant at the time, was worried about how the stress she felt in the aftermath of the raid would affect her unborn child.
Judge Greally acknowledged that Daly had a deeply entrenched addiction to heroin and other drugs while a psychological report before the court set out the difficulties he had in his childhood, which was “dominated by alcohol abuse, domestic violence and a high level of neglect”.
She said she was taking into account the remorse Daly has expressed, his guilty pleas and the fact that he is now committed to changing the course of his life.
Daly was sentenced to consecutive terms of eight and half years with the final 18 months suspended on strict conditions including that he engage with the Probation Service for 18 months.