TWO Dublin fathers described in court as "family men" have admitted dealing drugs at a children's playground near their homes.
Leslie Herbert (31) and James Marlowe (43) were both caught in a drugs bust when an undercover garda arranged over the phone to buy heroin.
Judge Aingeal Ni Chonduin fined them €600 each and asked if there was "anywhere worse" to sell drugs than a playground.
The accused, both fathers of three from Ballyfermot Crescent, Ballyfermot, pleaded guilty to possession of heroin with intent to sell or supply at the playground at Kylemore Avenue on July 26, 2012.
Gda Michael Noone told Dublin District Court that an undercover officer from the National Drugs Unit obtained a mobile phone number and organised to buy a quantity of heroin from the person who was using the phone.
Later that afternoon he met both defendants and organised to buy €50 worth of the drug from them.
It was handed to him by Herbert.
Marlowe was identified as the person using the phone and he took the cash from the officer.
The court heard the accused men both had a number of previous convictions.
Marlowe had a history of drug use but was now off all drugs, his barrister Christina Daly said.
He had not had any other charges in the eight years since his last offence, and had not come to the attention of the gardai since the playground incident, she added.
It had been a "huge wake-up call" for Herbert, his barrister said.
His 12-year-old child's birthday was the day of his court appearance.
Judge Ni Conduin said the accused were being portrayed in court as family men but this was not the case on the day.
"Drug dealing in a children's playground - is there anywhere worse?" the judge asked.
"You take a child to a playground and what do you find there? Drug dealing, probably needles. Is that a safe place?"
The judge said she was glad to see the accused had "manned up" and pleaded guilty.
She fined them €600 each and told them they were lucky they were not being sent to jail.
The fines must be paid within six months, with 20 days in prison in default.
She set recognisances in the event of an appeal