A GRANDMOTHER was fined €750 for having cocaine for sale outside one of Ireland's most popular bingo centres.
Helen Heaphy (50), of Kerryhall Road, Fairhill, Cork, pleaded guilty before the District Court yesterday to two charges.
She was charged with possession of cocaine and possession of the drug for sale or supply at Deanrock Business and Technology Park in Togher.
Both charges related to the evening of July 9 last year.
Deanrock is the site of one of Ireland's most successful bingo operations, Rock Bingo.
Inspector John Deasy said Heaphy was stopped outside the bingo complex and arrested when she was found to be carrying what Garda Danielle Hegarty suspected were controlled drugs.
She made no reply when she was first arrested and charged.
Cork District Court was told last September that the small quantity of cocaine involved had an estimated street value of €350.
Judge Leo Malone accepted jurisdiction in the case after hearing evidence of the value of the drugs involved and the outline details of the case.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had ruled that, in the circumstances, the case could be dealt with at district court rather than circuit court level.
Judge Leo Malone questioned what the defendant was doing with cocaine outside a Cork bingo hall.
Heaphy's solicitor, Frank Buttimer, said there was no suggestion the drugs were ever going to be brought inside the bingo complex.
"It happened outside the bingo hall. At the request of someone, she carried it to give to (them). It was a stupid act which placed her at risk of imprisonment," Mr Buttimer said.
He said his client had co-operated fully with the gardai and had major family responsibilities. "She is 50 years old now. She is separated. She is both a mother and grandmother with family responsibilities," he added. Mr Buttimer also said that his client had indicated at the earliest possible opportunity to the gardai that she would be entering a guilty plea.
Judge Malone was told Heaphy had complied fully with all bail conditions including that she reside at her Fairhill home and stay away from the Rock Bingo complex in Togher. The latter restriction has since been lifted.
She had also signed on weekly at Gurranabraher Garda Station as directed.
Judge Malone was told that Heaphy had a number of previous convictions but none for the sale or supply of drugs.
He fined the grandmother €750 after a brief hearing in which her guilty plea was entered. Mr Buttimer said she deeply regretted what had happened. She was allowed three months to pay the fine.