A nurse who planned to bring over €800 of cannabis into the Midlands Prison to give to a prisoner will serve a maximum of three months in jail.
Linda Holden (51), previously of Rathdowney but now residing in Co. Kildare, was today sentenced to three years in prison, but Judge Keenan Johnson agreed to suspend the last two years and nine months on condition she enter a peace bond and remain under probation supervision for 18 months.
Judge Johnson said he very much regretted having to impose a custodial sentence, but the court had to impose some form of custodial sentence so as to send out a message to others who might be tempted to engage in similar activity.
The accused was detected by members of the national drug unit on January 7, 2015, with the drugs in the glove compartment of her car at the Midlands Hospital in Portlaoise.
There were two cigarette boxes containing cannabis herb, stuffed into a condom.
The accused admitted that she had met someone at a nearby filling station to acquire the drugs, which she intended passing to a prisoner of the Midlands Prison and expected to be paid €1,000.
Det Sgt Emmet Casserly said there were 41.4g of cannabis, valued at €828.
The accused said she had become involved in the offence because of financial difficulties. She also said she had brought drugs into the prison on two previous occasions.
Judge Johnson said: “The accused has not alone let herself down, but has also tarnished and undermined the respect and reputation of her colleagues… it is difficult to understand how someone in a position of authority within the prison, like the accused, could have allowed herself to become engaged in such a corrosive activity.”
The judge said that Holden has suffered an enormous loss of reputation and respect, and her prospects of future employment as a nurse were extremely restricted.
Judge Johnson deferred the imposition of the prison sentence to January 16 next year.