Judge issues warning after Donegal student drug dealer caught

December 3, 2021

A judge has hit out at what she termed as third level students selling drugs to other third level students to help pay their way through college.

Judge Sandra Murphy was speaking during the course of a case of a Donegal student caught with more than €1,000 of drugs.

Judge Murphy that some students thought they “could fund their lifestyle” through this practice but the “sad reality is that people die”.

“Students are selling drugs to other students”.

She said there was a “ready market”for drugs in colleges all over the country and “that is a very serious thing”.

County Donegal student Caoilfhionn Danagaher (23) of Elaghmore Bundoran pleaded guilty to having €1,142 of ecstasy tablets for sale or supply when he appeared at Sligo District Court.

Sergeant Derek Butler told the court that gardai saw the defendant doing a drugs transaction at Mulberry Park.

The defendant, who was a Sligo IT student at the time, admitted two counts of having ecstasy for sale or supply on February 17 last year at Mulberry Park, Sligo and two counts of possession of the drugs, at Sligo District Court.

He was searched and drugs were found on him.

His property was searched and a total of €1,142 of ecstasy was found.

The defendant made full admissions and he had no previous convictions

Defence solicitor Mark Mullaney said it was a difficult situation for the defendant and his poor mother who was in court supporting him.

His mother got a call from the gardai about the matter, and it was a call that no mother wants to receive.

But the defendant had taken steps to straighten himself out.

He was a very intelligent young man but was nervous about speaking in court and it was not out of disrespect to the court.

The defendant had left home, went to college, and fell into bad ways and was using drugs which developed into an addiction, and he was selling drugs to his friends and kept around a half of the drugs for himself.

That was what gave rise to the sale or supply charges, the court heard.

The defendant made full admissions to Garda McDonnell and showed him where the drugs could be found

He took immediate steps and went to get a letter from his GP the day after the incident.

As a result, he was referred to an addiction counsellor and has attended on 10-11 occasions which was interrupted by Covid.

He could not engage fully because of a speech impediment.

The defendant had been referred to a psychiatrist because of his anxiety and mental health issues and had not come to any garda attention in the interim.

The defendant also had documentary evidence from Charter House addiction centre that he was on a waiting list for treatment there.

He had taken every step to change his life and had started fund raising for the Dublin Simon Community and helping the homeless and was confronting the harm drugs can do to him and to others.

The defendant was putting himself at the mercy of the court.

Mr Mullaney asked the court to consider a Probation Report with a view to getting an insight into the defendant and to adjourn the case for a lengthy period to have it hanging over his head to make sure he does not come to any future garda attention.

The defendant no longer used drugs and was prepared to get regular urine analysis and it would come back negative.

He was concerned about the impact a conviction for selling drugs would have on his young life.

The defendant accepted that what he did was wrong and was asking the court to be as lenient as possible.

The court was also shown a testimonial from the defendant’s aunt who ran a Montessori School in Kinlough.

The defendant had finished his degree in Creative Design and ran a small busines from home.

Judge Sandra Murphy said that what concerned her was that this was not cannabis but ecstasy.

The judge added that all she had was two letters about appointments and no concrete evidence that he was addressing his addiction.

Mr Mullaney said he had asked the addiction services for letters but was told that they could not furnish anything ahead of the pending case in court.

Judge Murphy said she was ordering a Probation Report and adjourned the case to February 10.