Ivan Mahon, (47), of Cavangarden, Ballyshannon, was jailed for two years with the last six months suspended for knowingly allowing his property to be used for growing drugs.
Mahon’s brother David was Assistant Grand Master of the Orange Order.
Donegal Circuit Court heard that when gardai raided the house at Garvannagh near Ballintra on January 24, 2013, Ivan Mahon had fled over nearby fields.
The grow house was being dismantled and some of the equipment was in Mahon’s jeep. Cannabis worth €212,000 was inside and two Chinese nationals arrested.
Judge John O’Hagan said he had given a suspended sentence to one of them because of his age and he had been suffering from dementia whilst the second Chinese national had been jailed for three years, with the last year suspended.
Detective Sergeant Barry Doyle said when he arrested Mahon later he had denied involvement in the drugs operation, only admitting some involvement in the latter stages of eight interviews.
Judge O’Hagan said Mahon’s role in the drugs operation was different from many other Irish nationals who had perhaps rented premises to people not knowing what their plans were.
“There is an epidemic of these grow houses right across Ireland. They are in every county and gardai are working ceaselessly to find then,” said the judge.
He said Mahon knew what he was doing and the consequences of his actions.
“It leads to a lot of trouble and misery in our society,” said the judge.
He jailed Mahon for two years but suspended the last six month of the sentence as Mahon had pleaded guilty.
Mahon was handcuffed and led from the court.