A PRISON officer has been jailed for five years after he admitted supplying inmates with drugs and mobile phones over a five-year period.
Thomas Corry (52) was nine months short of 30 years' service with the Irish Prison Service when he was caught attempting to smuggle a bag full of drugs, alcohol, knives, mobile phones, chargers, Bluetooth headsets and razor blades into Limerick Prison last year.
In Limerick Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, Corry received a seven-year sentence, with two years suspended, after he pleaded guilty to having quantities of cannabis resin, cocaine and prescription drugs alprazolam and diazepam for sale or supply at Roxboro Road, Limerick, on March 16.
He was arrested by gardai at a checkpoint near the prison after they recovered the bag from the front seat of his car.
He had been on his way to work when gardai set up a checkpoint on foot of confidential information.
Garda Monica O'Reilly recited the list of what Corry had attempted to smuggle into the prison. Inside the bag was: cannabis resin worth €900; cocaine worth €644; 365 alprazolam tablets; 144 diazepam tablets; 31 mobile phones, 34 chargers; seven sim cards; 22 Bluetooth headsets; a 7-up bottle containing two litres of alcohol; 94 sets of razor blades; four batteries; four earphones; two penknives and a screwdriver.
Corry met someone on the Park Road, Limerick, on his way to work who put the bag into the car. He received €400 to smuggle the contraband into the prison.
After his arrest, the married father of three sons, from Aughrim, Scariff, Co Clare, told gardai he had been smuggling phones and drugs into the prison for five years. He said he did it three or four times a year and received between €50 and €100 each time.
He said he befriended inmates after he had difficulties in his relationship with colleagues and supervisors.
The court was told Corry had identified flaws in the jail's security system that allowed him to smuggle in the contraband.
Corry said references to intimidation were made and prisoners had mentioned that one of his sons was in college. While smuggling drugs into the prison, Corry said he had a fear of getting caught and a fear of the people he was dealing with.
Providing a character reference, Barry Gibbons said Corry did great work for his home rugby club.
Passing sentence, Judge Ray Fullam said it amounted to "a callous breach of trust" for a person employed by the State to commit such a crime.