Homeless man broke into State building ‘to find somewhere to sleep’

Paddy Lynch (36) pleads guilty to causing €8,000 damage at General Register Office

A homeless man who broke into the General Register Office in Dublin and caused €8,000 worth of damage told gardaí he was looking for somewhere to sleep, a court has heard.

The office, which houses the State's birth, death and adoption certificates, was not a "logical" place to break into, given it does not contain anything of monetary value, Judge Melanie Greally noted in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Friday.

Paddy Lynch (36) of Ashlawn Court, Bray, Co Wicklow, pleaded guilty to one count of trespass and criminal damage at the research office on Werburgh Street, Dublin on May 9th this year.

Garda Greg Moroney told the court that Lynch broke into the building, which was closed over the Covid-19 lockdown period, shortly after midnight, setting off an alarm.

He broke an electronic gate at the entrance of the building and was bashing an internal security door with a piece of metal when gardaí arrived at the scene.

He told gardaí he was looking for somewhere to sleep, the court heard. He appeared intoxicated and a needle was found on the floor near him.

Lynch caused a total of €8,000 in damage, with the electronic gate costing €7,000 to repair, Garda Moroney said.

He has several previous convictions, including burglary and theft, the court heard. He has been in custody since the incident.

Garda Moroney told the court that while the building did not contain anything of monetary value, the documents within were of historical importance to the State. No documents were damaged during the incident.

Esther Okunowo, defending, said her client was homeless and struggled with drug addiction. A psychological report was handed into court.

The judge ordered a Probation Service report and adjourned the matter to February 23rd.