‘The worst of crimes’ – Louth judge calls for harsher sanctions for drug dealers

Drogheda Independent

A judge has said there should be harder sanctions for people convicted of drugs offences.

Judge Eirinn McKiernan was speaking at the district court on Monday when she sentenced a 21-year-old man to four months imprisonment for dealing in cannabis.

Jamie Kavanagh, Ballsgrove, Drogheda, pleaded guilty to possession and possession for sale or supply of €1,088-worth of cannabis at Rathmullen Road on 27 July 2022.

The judge remarked that drug dealing was the ‘worst of the worst crimes’.

‘There should be harder sanctions. That’s not a matter for me.’

It was stated on behalf of the defendant, who has no previous convictions, that he was using cannabis himself and supplying his friends.

Garda John Walsh testified that an off-duty colleague saw Mr Kavanagh engaging in ‘suspicious transactions’ on the boardwalk.

The witness said that when he arrived on the scene at 3.18pm there was a smell of cannabis from the accused who was then searched.

A cannabis wrap was found in a nearby hedge. The defendant took ownership of it, made full admissions, and gave gardaí access to his mobile phone.

Cross-examined by barrister Ronan O’Carroll, Gda Walsh said Mr Kavanagh had not come to attention since and he didn’t expect that he would. He fully co-operated.

The court heard that the defendant had a dependency on drugs. He smoked cannabis and gave some to his friends when they asked him to.

A part-time shop assistant, he no longer took drugs and hoped to do Arts & Media in college next September.

He was extremely apologetic and deeply remorseful. He was ‘petrified’ at the possibility of going to jail.

‘Tell me why he shouldn’t (go to prison)? He has pleaded guilty to selling cannabis,’ Judge McKiernan said.

Mr O’Carroll submitted that it was not as a profit-making exercise. His friends asked him.

‘I’m not stupid. I find it hard to believe he’s doing it to be nice to his friends,’ the judge continued.

Judge McKiernan said that the defendant should come and sit in court and look at the people who were on drugs.

Mr O’Carroll replied that his client didn’t fall into the category of drug dealer as one would expect. He had genuine remorse and contrition.

‘I’m sure…because he’s caught. What about the people he sells to? Does he care?’ the judge asked.

Counsel said that was not lost on the defendant. He had engaged in the most foolish act. He was meeting the offence as best he could. Gda Walsh did not expect to see him again.

Judge McKiernan said she had no tolerance for this, ‘selling drugs for quick bucks’.

The court wanted to know where the proof of Mr Kavanagh’s dependency on drugs was.

The judge remarked all that was appropriate was a custodial sentence.

A four-month term was imposed on the Section 15 sale or supply charge.

Bail to appeal was set at a personal bond of €300 with an independent surety of €500 cash lodged.