Food for thought: Was justice done in the case of the €1.50 Pringles?





It’s Sunday morning as I write, and as I am having a little look at the front of the Sunday papers, I’m drawn to an attention-grabbing headline on the Sunday World – ‘Woman jailed for opening €1.50 box of crisps blasts legal system’. Underneath it, we are told she got a two-month term while ‘dealers and paedos walk free’.

  It’s been a long time since I bought a Sunday World, as I am very much an Indo man, but this time the story captured my full attention. As a result, I headed home for the obligatory full Irish with a copy of the paper under my oxter, excitement building as I prepared to read about yet another miscarriage of justice.

  Down through the last number of years I have highlighted several cases of ridiculous sentencing by the judiciary, and on the face of it it certainly looked as if we had another example of legal wrongdoing here. However, after reading the full story, I have to admit I am not so sure.

  You see, the young lady involved had 31 previous convictions for theft, criminal damage and handling stolen goods, and at the time of the offence she was barred from the Tesco store where the theft of the Pringles took place. So, while on the face of it the offence was a very minor one, I suppose the dilemma facing the Judge was – where do you draw the line?

  On one hand I would be very sympathetic towards the young lady, but on the other hand, there must be a deterrent put in place to let everyone know that serial theft will not be tolerated. Also, we shouldn’t forget that there are small retailers being put out of business on a regular basis through the actions of organised robbing gangs. It is not too long since we ourselves in Lynn Antiques in Athlone were the victims of a major theft, carried out in a most professional way by a gang of five or six people. We were very lucky that the Gardai apprehended them before they had time to get rid of their ill-gotten gains. So, while I genuinely felt sorry for the defendant, for once I think the Judge was forced to make a decision, that – while unpopular – under the circumstances was the correct one.

  As it happens, the woman got bail and won’t be locked up for Christmas, and as she is going to appeal, she may never have to serve any jail time. If she’s lucky enough to avoid the ultimate punishment, I hope she learns her lesson and leaves stuff that doesn’t belong to her on the shelves. At the end of the day, no matter how small the item, theft is theft, and it is a miserable, low act.


Magical Christmas atmosphere on our day trip to Dublin


It’s Monday morning, and more than a year and a half after I got the free travel, I am finally making use of it and travelling by train. I find myself boarding the 8.38 am service from Roscommon to Heuston Station, and am quite surprised at the large numbers who are also heading to the capital city.

  In truth it has been nearly 40 years since I last used the rail network, and it has certainly improved quite a bit in the intervening years. After a very comfortable, smooth journey we disembarked in the city in a good bit under two hours.

  For me, one of the great joys of going to Dublin is breakfast in Eddie Rocket’s, and so the first place I headed to was the O’Connell Street branch where (don’t tell my doctor) I enjoyed the full Eddie Rocket power breakfast.

  After that we did the usual window shopping trip, with the Christmas stalls in Henry Street proving particularly interesting to me. It goes without saying that we ran into several local people, most of whom warned me not to mention them in the paper, but one who didn’t was Ballygar man Johnny Martin, who was happily visiting his newly-born grandchild.

  The atmosphere in the city was just magic, with unbelievable lighting in every street, shopping centre and mall. The GPO was an amazing sight –all lit up – and I have to say it was a most enjoyable experience. Now that I have finally got started, Irish Rail will be seeing a lot more of me in the future.

  On the way home I realised that a huge number of people are commuting daily to the city for work. Indeed several of them were using their laptops on the way home to do their business –compliments of free WiFi from Irish Rail – before heading back up to Dublin the following morning. It’s tough going, as a lot of them have to be on the train at 6 am or so in the morning (to make their offices in time), but as a girl who was sitting beside us explained, the cost of accommodation in Dublin leaves them with no choice, as they simply can’t afford to live there.

  Anyway, it was great to see how things are in our capital city, and all I can say is I enjoyed my visit. Nonetheless, stay local when you are doing your Christmas shopping – your own area needs you most.

And finally…

Finally for this week, it’s hard to believe it but another year has almost passed, and Mary Kelly has reminded me that one of the biggest social events of the year, the Senior Citizens’ Party, takes place this Sunday, 9th of December in St. Mary’s Hall, Kilbegnet. It all starts at 2 pm. There will be music, food, drink and loads of craic.

  Thanks to the hard-working committee it’s all free gratis, and everyone is welcome. Just as with the free travel, I am fully qualified to attend the hooley on Sunday. Hopefully I will make it, but even if I can’t, you better make sure you are there and have a wonderful day’s fun – you deserve it!


Till next week, Bye for now!