BY OLIVIA KELLEHER
TWO delivery men bringing kegs of beer to a Tragumna pub stole up to €34,000 over a two year period from a cupboard on the premises until they were caught red handed when CCTV was installed onsite, Cork Circuit Criminal Court has heard.
When the sentencing of Paul Morey (51) and Paul O’Callaghan (47) got underway Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin, having heard previous evidence in the case, asked if the defendants were the men ‘who stole so much we don’t know how much they stole.’
The court heard that Mr Morey of Willow Gardens, Glanmire, and Mr O’Callaghan of Orrery Road in Gurranabraher stole from the Skibbereen Eagle pub in Tragumna, Skibbereen for two years between November 2017 and October 2019. The men pleaded guilty to stealing cash on various dates over that period.
Garda Aisling Murphy said that at the time of the offence the pub owner kept cash in a locked cupboard on the premises. The key was concealed in the pub.
The owner had given the two delivery drivers permission to access another key which was at that time concealed outside the pub to let themselves in to make morning deliveries of kegs of beer. The men were not made aware of the concealed key for the cupboard but they found it and started stealing cash on a regular basis from the premises.
In 2019 the owner began to become suspicious that someone was stealing from the cupboard. A decision was made to set up internal CCTV covering the area where the cash was stored.
Garda Murphy said the owner called the gardai afer she examined footage which showed the two men going to the locked cupboard and stealing sums of cash.
Using CCTV she could link over €2,300 in missing cash to the delivery. Gardai told the owner to set up a scheduled delivery with the men again and they were caught a second time on CCTV stealing from the cupboard.
The men had to plead guilty to sample counts of theft as it was impossible to establish how much they had stolen from the premises.
Garda Murphy said the accountant for the pub examined turnover and profit figures and estimated that over the course of two years €34,000 had been taken from the cupboard.
The men have paid back a total of €12,000 in compensation between them. Counsel for the defence, Donal O’Sullivan representing Paul Morey, insisted that his client had ‘done his best’ to raise compensation.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said the level of dishonesty and breach of trust was ‘despicable.’
‘I have zero sympathy for these two lads. The figure (of compensation) they have come up with is nowhere near satisfying me. I gave these lads a chance and I am not sure they took it.’
He warned that the men were set to go to jail if they didn’t make ‘an honest efforts at reparation.’
‘The level of dishonesty is despicable. They will have to pay for it. They will have to pay one way or the other.’
The case was adjourned until February 24th, 2022 to allow the men to raise further compensation. They were released on bail until their next court appearance.