Donegal sports coach caught with drugs haul is fined €1,000

October 12, 2021

A Co Donegal sports coach, who was caught with €3,030 of cannabis in the boot of his car had his case struck out after he paid €1,000 to a local charity.

Shane McWhinnie (36) from Main Street Dunkineely pleaded to possession of the drugs at Ardloy, Riverstown in Co Sligo when he appeared at Sligo District Court on December 3 last year.

The defendant told gardai that the drugs were for his own personal use.

A charge of having the drugs for sale or supply was struck out.

The court heard the defendant’s Volkswagen Golf was stopped in the townland of Ardloy after Garda Ruddy noticed the driver’s window was wound down in the car.

The garda stopped the car noting that the driver was outside the Covid limits as he was from Co Donegal.

The officer got a strong smell of cannabis from the vehicle and on searching the car he found €3,030 of cannabis in the boot.

Defence solicitor Edmund Henry said the defendant had a very good educational background and was very much involved with local sports people in the Dunkineely area.

“He should have more sense, with his educational background. This is a serious amount,” said Judge Deirdre Gearty in court yesterday.

Mr Henry said his client worked as an engineer on large fishing trawlers that went from Killybegs down to the west coast of Africa.

The drugs were a way of coping with the long periods at sea.

The defendant had some negative influences around that time but had re-connected with his better peers and had cut these other negative influences.

This matter had caused him serious embarrassment and he came from a very well- respected family in his home area

The defendant, aged 36 with no previous convictions, took full responsibility and co-operated fully with gardai.

He was involved in taking care of young children in sport, had got a commendation and was a very active community man.

He was intending to go to Canada and Australia in relation to his work but this matter could have serious consequences for him, the court was told.

He had a substantial sum of €500 in court, his solicitor said.

Judge Deirdre Gearty said the defendant would have to dig a bit deeper than that and ordered that he pay €1,000.

The defendant already had €500 bail money in court.

The €1000 was paid to Social Ground Force and the charge of possession of cannabis was struck out.