Sunday 21 April 2024

Man who stole over €1,700 from Donegal cathedral during funeral appears in court

Man stole almost €2,000 from St Eunan's Cathedral during funeral mass -  Donegal Daily

A man has appeared in court charged with stealing over €1,700 from St Eunan's Cathedral in Letterkenny while a funeral was taking place on Sunday.

Ireneusz Matras was brought before Monday's sitting of Letterkenny District Court. 

Matras, a 43-year-old of Fortwell, Letterkenny, was charged that on April 14, 2024, at St Eunan's Cathedral in Letterkenny, he did steal property to wit €1,754.55 and £6.13stg, the property of parish priest, Monsignor Kevin Gillespie.

The incident occurred in the sacristy of the Cathedral after a collection had been taken from parishioners during a midday Funeral Mass.

After the brazen theft, Matras was arrested a short time later by detectives and taken to Letterkenny Garda Station for questioning. 

Matras was held overnight and brought before court on Monday. 

The charge is contrary to Section 4 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001. 

Sergeant Maurice Doyle told the court that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed that the matter be dealt with summarily in the District Court.

Evidence of the arrest, charge and caution of Matras was given by way of schedule.

Matras was represented by solicitor Mr Patsy Gallagher.

Mr Gallagher said he has firm instructions to tender a guilty plea and suggested that it may be appropriate to have an interpretor present on the next occasion for Matras, a Polish national.

Matras has no previous convictions and Mr Gallagher asked for a Probation and Welfare report on behalf of his client.

“A report would maybe give a better understanding in a plea of mitigation,” Mr Gallagher said.

Judge Éiteáin Cunningham granted bail on condition that Matras sign on at Letterkenny Garda Station once a week and provide Gardai with an address at which he will reside.

Judge Cunningham ordered a Probation and Welfare report and remanded Matras on bail to appear again before Letterkenny District Court on July 8.