A YOUNG man has claimed he was forced to start dealing heroin to pay off a substantial drug debt for a cocaine habit.
Derek Geraghty's attempt at selling drugs was "absolutely amateurish", according to his defence lawyer.
Judge James McDonnell ordered Geraghty (25) to complete 200-hours community service in lieu of six months in prison.
The defendant, of Rossfield Grove in Tallaght, was found guilty before Tallaght District Court of possession of heroin as well as having the drug for sale or supply.
Garda Stephen O'Neill said he was on mobile patrol on Kiltalown Avenue shortly before 4pm on May 2 last year when he came across Geraghty, who appeared to be engaged in a transaction with another man.
The two men walked away in opposite directions when they saw the gardai. He said he followed Geraghty, who dropped a small deal of heroin on the ground.
The defendant was taken to Tallaght Garda Station and when he was searched, 18 street deals of heroin, worth over €300, was found concealed in his underwear.
He also had €370 in cash.
The court heard the defendant had no previous convictions.
Defence solicitor Michael Hennessy said Geraghty had a serious cocaine problem and had built up substantial debts. He was told by his drug dealers that he would be able to clear his debt if he sold heroin on the street.
Geraghty did a football training course after school and worked for seven years in a company manufacturing blinds, but had been unemployed for 18 months and had built up drug debts during this time.
Judge McDonnell ordered a community service report and adjourned sentencing to a date in December.