Thursday 29 September 2016

Taxi driver sold coke to pay his kids' maintenance

Nicola Donnelly

Published 15/09/2016 | 08:08

Burns, of Bath Road, Balbriggan, Co Dublin pleaded guilty to two counts of the sale and supply of drugs under Section 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Stock image)
Burns, of Bath Road, Balbriggan, Co Dublin pleaded guilty to two counts of the sale and supply of drugs under Section 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Stock image)

A Dublin taxi driver was caught with deals of cocaine in his car twice within a 12-month period following a sting operation by gardai, a court heard.

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Barry Burns (42) turned to selling cocaine to "make a quick buck" as he needed the money to pay maintenance for his three young children after he had split from his partner, Swords District Court heard.

Gardai set up a surveillance operation on suspected drug dealing and stopped Burns, who was driving a silver Skoda taxi on the Glen Ellen Link Road on February 6. They searched the vehicle and Burns handed over one deal of cocaine which he retrieved from the glove box. Gardai later retrieved a further six deals of cocaine, with a total value of €525. Burns was arrested and made admissions, the court heard.

A year previously, on February 7, a warrant was executed at a premises in Swords and Burns was parked in the driveway. Deals of cocaine worth €75 were located in his vehicle.

Burns, of Bath Road, Balbriggan, Co Dublin pleaded guilty to two counts of the sale and supply of drugs under Section 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Burns, who has been driving a taxi for ten years, was found guilty in July at Dublin District Court of failing to take an accountant on the shortest route to his home in Blackrock from Dublin Airport. He was fined €250 for this offence.

Defence solicitor Fiona D'Arcy told Judge John Lindsay Burns had been "going through a difficult time" following the split from his partner three years ago. "He had to move back in with his parents and was trying to find money to pay maintenance and because of the break-up he turned to drugs."

She said it got out of control but he has since reigned it in.

"He was in a bad place financially and in February this year he received a phone call, obtained the cocaine to make a quick buck but it was a set-up," she said.

Admissions

When he was arrested he handed over the drugs and made full and frank admissions and has no other charges pending, Ms D'Arcy told the court.

She said Burns has a history of anxiety and attends counselling which she said he finds very beneficial, and that he is heavily involved in the local community managing children's GAA, soccer and badminton teams.

She added that he is willing to make €1,000 as a charitable donation.

Judge Lindsay decided to adjourn the case until December for Burns to provide clean urine analysis to prove he isn't taking any drugs and to come up with a charitable donation.

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