A number of Laois people have been sentenced to jail for selling drugs to undercover gardaí, as part of a national garda operation targeting the supply of heroin.
An aggravating factor in two separate cases was that the drug dealers had children with them when they sold the drugs to gardaí working in a covert capacity.
The arrests all arose out of Operation Nero, an ongoing operation into the supply of drugs in the district.
Four people received prison sentences at last week’s sitting of the district court:
Hugh Nevin (40), 36 Garden Village, Portlaoise, sold cocaine to undercover gardaí on November 26 last year, at Harpurs Lane, and on two dates in January, January 4 and 14, he sold cannabis to gardaí in Kilminchy, Portlaoise.
Inspector Aidan Farrelly said that an aggravating factor on January 14 was that when he sold the gardaí cannabis herb in the car park outside a local pub, he had a juvenile with him.
Nevin had three previous convictions.
Defence, Mr Philip Meagher said that Nevin had been using cocaine himself at the time and built up a debt, and so he agreed to take some of the product to sell on.
Remarking on the bad example Nevin had set for his children, Judge Catherine Staines imposed six months in prison, with recognisance fixed in the event of an appeal.
Ricky O’Shea (23) 37 Oakleaf Place, Portlaoise, sold heroin to gardaí on three dates this year. On one occasion, January 6, at Woodgrove, Portlaoise, he had a young child sitting in the car when he passed the drug to the gardaí.
He was sentenced to nine months in prison, with recognisance fixed.
Deirdre Kelly (37), 12 O’Moore Place, sold heroin to undercover gardaí valued at €20, at Dr Murphy Place, Portlaoise, on July 22 and again on July 27.
Kelly had 33 previous convictions.
Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said her client had received €20 for the drugs, but the money wasn’t kept by her.
“She doesn’t sell drugs for money,” said Ms Fitzpatrick.
Kelly was sentenced to six months in prison, with recognisance fixed.
Paul O’Shea (37), 37 Oakleaf Place, Portlaoise, sold heroin to gardaí valued at €20 at his home on both October 10 and October 8 last year, and the same on October 19 at Church Street, Portlaoise.
He had 32 previous convictions.
He was sentenced to six months, with recognisance fixed.
Leanne Galvin (22), 79 Woodgrove, Ballyfin Road, Portlaoise, sold two bags of diamorphine to undercover gardaí at Harpurs Lanes, Portlaoise.
Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said Galvin had received no gain or profit from the venture as she had been “acting on the instruction of another”.
As she had no previous convictions, Judge Staines put the matter back for a probation report.
Also charged were Ann Kelly (57) and John Kelly (33), both of 69 Hillview Drive, Knockmay, Portlaoise. Both pleaded not guilty and their cases have gone back to October 28 for hearing.
And the case against Ryan Lewis, Portlaoise, was adjourned to May 12 for a probation report.