A judge has ordered the arrest of former Labour senator James Heffernan (40) after the Limerick man failed to appear at Dublin District Court on charges of theft and an offence against the Public Order Act.

Mr Heffernan, with an address at Main Street, Kilfinane, Co. Limerick, is accused of stealing a coat worth €80 and a book valued at €225 from the Stephen’s Green Club, Dublin 2 on 7th August last year. The book contains parliamentary debates from Dáil Eireann in 1923.

He is also facing charges related to an incident at Lincoln Place, Dublin 2 on 14th January.

The qualified primary school teacher was previously sentenced to three months in jail for assaulting three Gardaí at a Cork music festival in July 2016. He was also an unsuccessful general election candidate for the Social Democrats party earlier that year.

Heffernan was granted bail last month on the latest charges, but having failed to appear in court today to say how he intended to plead, Judge Michael Walsh issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

Detective Sergeant Eugene McCarthy had told the court last month that Heffernan offered to return the book when charged with theft. He also argued “there’s no hope that jacket was worth €80, tell them I’ll swap them a jacket.”

Although there is no video evidence of the alleged public order offence, CCTV of the theft does exist and an order for disclosure has been made.

Heffernan is also a former Limerick county councillor who, having been elected to the Seanad with Labour in 2011, then lost the party whip after voting against budget cuts.