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28/07/2021

Woman who allowed her home to be used to store drugs has her children placed into care

Woman who allowed her home to be used to store drugs has her children placed into care

A woman who allowed her home to be used to store drugs has had her children taken away from her and placed into care since her arrest, a court has heard.

Veronica O'Connor (41) was not present in her home when it was raided by gardaí, although two individuals who did not live in the house were present along with her two children.

O'Connor of Bunratty Road, Coolock, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to permitting the sale of controlled drugs from her address on February 22, 2017. She has two previous convictions for road traffic offences.

Sergeant Janice Gray told John Berry BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question, gardaí obtained a search warrant for O'Connor's address on foot of confidential information. The door to the house was barred when gardaí arrived and was not immediately opened when they knocked.

Sgt Gray said that when the door was opened, gardaí found two people in the house who did not reside there, as well two children. O'Connor was found in a car outside the house and had been talking with her brother having received bags of clothing from him.

Gardaí discovered heroin with a value of €2,412 in the kitchen inside a container that would normally contain tea. They also discovered 48 Diazepam tablets for which the accused took responsibility.

Mr Berry told the court that the State's case was that O'Connor was knowingly allowing people to use her home for the supply of heroin. He said that she gave no names as to who these people were and the State is “not going so far to say” that it was the two people who were in the house when gardaí arrived.

Sgt Gray agreed with Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, that at least one of those two people would be known to gardaí and is now serving a “fairly lengthy” sentence for a drugs offence. She agreed there were no trapping of wealth in the house.

The sergeant agreed that his client was on methadone, had relapsed back into taking heroin and was trying to detox so she could get treatment. She agreed his client has had a long addiction, but has gotten clean on several occasions.

Mr Le Vert told the court that the two children have been taken away from his client and are now in care.

Judge Martin Nolan said the accused was a lady of a certain age “who should have known better”, but had little record of conviction. He said that while the amount of drugs was “serious enough”, it was not “too serious” in relation to the amounts that come before the court.

Judge Nolan said he did not think she deserved a custodial sentence. He sentenced O'Connor to two years imprisonment, but suspended the entirety of the sentence on condition that she keep the peace and be of good behaviour for two years.

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