A former Fianna Fáil councillor has been given a three-year suspended jail sentence on theft charges.

Ger Killally, 42, from Edenderry in Co Offaly was convicted of three charges of forgery and the theft of over €18,000 worth of shop and refrigeration equipment.

Westmeath Circuit Court was told two weeks ago that Killally, a former land dealer and developer who ran for the Dáil on the same ticket as former taoiseach Brian Cowen in 1997 and 2002, had been declared bankrupt in July 2009.

However, he had subsequently removed the shop and refrigeration equipment from a premises in Rochfortbridge, Co Westmeath, which he previously owned before the bankruptcy proceedings.

Killally has been in jail since 13 November awaiting sentence.

The court was told he had found it to be a "difficult and sometimes horrible experience" which he had no wish or desire to repeat

The court heard Killally had repaid €18,000 in respect of the equipment he sold and the cheque for that amount, which was handed into the court on 13 November, had cleared.

Judge Tony Hunt noted this was not a case where hundreds of thousands or millions of euro had been transferred overseas and it was in fact a relatively small fraud.

He said Killally had suffered a rather severe fall from grace and had brought shame and embarrassment on himself and his family, but he had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and would be treated like anybody else coming into court with no previous criminal convictions.

He sentenced Killally to three years in jail on the theft charges but suspended the sentence.

On the forgery charge, he remanded the former councillor on bail until April 2013, but said he would be seeking a report on Killally's suitability to complete 240 hours of community service in lieu of a three jail sentence on that charge.

Judge Hunt made an order restoring Killally with his passport and told him to "depart from here and try and put together what remains of your life".