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Gardaí raided drug dealer's house while her family was staging an intervention

Debbie O’Reilly’s family had become concerned about her behaviour. She escaped jail time today due to her efforts at rehabilitation.

GARDAÍ RAIDED THE house of a drug dealing mother while her family and friends were staging an intervention for her about her lifestyle, a court has heard.

The woman who was caught dealing cannabis from her home avoided jail today after the court was told she has since “faced up to her addiction and her responsibility to her son”.

Debbie O’Reilly (35) formerly of Maple Avenue, Ballybrack, subsequently became homeless when the county council became aware of the offence. She and her 15-year-old son have since found permanent accommodation.

O’Reilly, who was addicted to the formerly legal drug PVP, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cannabis herb for sale or supply at her then home on August 4, 2013. She has no previous convictions.

At a hearing last November the court heard that O’Reilly had been left devastated by what was described as “the tragic death” of her former partner and the father of her child in July 2013.

She was also having difficulties in her current relationship with a man known to gardaí.

She is no longer associated with this man and has moved out of the Ballybrack area.

Garda Ivor Scully agreed with Ronan Kennedy BL, defending, that when gardaí arrived to search O’Reilly’s home her family and friends were in the middle of “an intervention” with her as they had been concerned about her recent behaviour.

Gda Scully told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, that gardaí searched the house in Maple Avenue following a tip off that cannabis was being sold from the house.

O’Reilly made immediate admissions at the scene when the drugs were discovered.

O’Reilly co-operated fully with gardaí and took responsibility for the kilogramme of cannabis herb, worth €21,920. and 8 grams of PVP (a synthetic drug similar to cocaine), worth €312, that was found.

The drugs were found in a shopping bag in her shed, behind a kicker board in the kitchen and in her bedroom.

A total of €8,200 in cash, a digital weighing scales and an iPhone with evidence of drug dealing on it were also seized in the house.

Gda Scully agreed with Mr Kennedy that O’Reilly had been using PVP at the time and there would have been times when she wouldn’t have been particularly coherent.

He accepted she gave gardaí “a candid account of herself” and her offending, admitting that she had been giving out drugs to people. She had not been known to gardaí prior to that summer.

The garda agreed that O’Reilly is a lot better both mentally and physically since her arrest and is making efforts to get her life back on track. He said he was aware that she has been engaging in various services to address her addiction.

He agreed with a suggestion from Mr Kennedy that if O’Reilly, manages to address her addiction and stay away from her former associates, he is optimistic that she will not come to garda attention again.

Gda Scully said he believed her arrest and subsequent homelessness was “an extreme wake up call” and that she has begun “to learn the errors of her ways”.

Mr Kennedy said his client was aware that her behaviour supported others in the upper echelons of the drug dealing world and that she was “an essential cog in that wheel”.

“She can’t change what she done, but she has been given her life back and there are great signs for optimism going forward,” Mr Kennedy said.

Today Mr Kennedy handed several letters to the court detailing O’Reilly’s rehabilitation since the previous hearing, including letters from drug treatment programmes, a guidance counsellor, her son’s secondary school, and a certificate for completing a course in addiction studies.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring said O’Reilly was clearly a capable and intelligent young woman but for some reason started to abuse drugs before moving onto dealing.

Explaining that mitigating factors allowed her to set aside the minimum ten year sentence for serious drug offences, Judge Ring said Ms O’Reilly is “someone who has faced up to her addiction and her responsibility to her son and the greater community”.

Judge Ring suspended all five years of a five year jail term and directed O’Reilly to cooperate with probation services for twelve months.

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About the author:

Declan Conlon

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