Saturday 24 August 2019

Garda picked for early Westlife line-up sacked from force over cocaine possession

Early days: Michael Garrett (back right) when he was in IOU with (left-right) Graham Keighron and the boys who became Westlife superstars – Mark Feehily, Kian Egan and Shane Filan.
Photo: GreenGraph
Early days: Michael Garrett (back right) when he was in IOU with (left-right) Graham Keighron and the boys who became Westlife superstars – Mark Feehily, Kian Egan and Shane Filan. Photo: GreenGraph
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A garda who nearly became a member of boy band Westlife has been sacked from the force after pleading guilty to cocaine possession.

Michael Garrett (39) was dismissed last month after his court case.

He had been a member of gardai for 15 years but after pleading guilty to possessing €100 of cocaine he was forced out of his job.

Garrett with an with an address at Orchard Lane, Strandhill Road, Co Sligo, appeared before Dublin District Court last month.

Michael Garrett in his Garda uniform
Michael Garrett in his Garda uniform

He had been charged with unlawful possession of cocaine at Tritonville Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin 4 just under a year previously on August 26, 2018.

His case did not have to go to full trial after Judge Patricia Harney was told Garrett was pleading guilty.

Insp McNulty told Judge Harney on the date of the offence Garrett had been stopped under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

During a search, a bag containing 1.6 grammes of cocaine was found, Insp McNulty said, adding that it was worth approximately €100.

Insp McNulty told the court Garrett had no prior convictions.

"He has never come to attention in his career dating 15 years in the organisation," he said.

Garrett remained silent during the hearing and was not required to give evidence.

The barrister said Garrett had an appointment later this week with his GP.

He asked for an adjournment for a medical report to be ready and a plea of mitigation at the next hearing.

Noting the guilty plea, Judge Harney granted the application and ordered the accused to appear before the court again on November 4 for his sentencing hearing.

Garrett was arrested following an intelligence-led operation by the NBCI, which is currently the main body tasked with investigating suspected criminal offences by Garda members.

Following his arrest, Garda headquarters said that Garrett, who was not named at the time, was suspended from duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

Garrett had been a member of the boy band IOU when Louis Walsh signed a number of its members in 2000.

This included Shane Filan, Kian Egan and Mark Feehily who later formed Westlife, but Garrett did not make the cut.

He later attended the Garda Training College, Templemore, graduating in July 2005.

He was later posted at Pearse Street garda station where he was working as a community policing officer up until his arrest.

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