Niall Collins (File photo) Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
Keeping schtum

Fianna Fáil won't comment on one of its TDs asking a judge not to jail a drug dealer

The party’s justice spokesperson Niall Collins is in the spotlight this morning.

FIANNA FÁIL HAS said it will not be commenting on news that its justice spokesperson Niall Collins wrote to a judge in Limerick asking him not to jail a convicted drug dealer.

It has emerged that Collins wrote a letter on official headed paper, including his photograph and contact details, urging a judge at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court not to impose a jail sentence on a criminal who was caught with thousands of euro worth of drugs.

The handwritten letter was presented by lawyers representing Hugo Porter, a 40-year-old father-of-four from St Patrick’s Villas, Castleconnell, Co Limerick, who earlier this year pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis and cannabis resin for the purpose of sale or supply.

The drugs had a street value of almost €18,000 and were recovered by gardaí in a field in Castleconnell, Co Limerick in June 2011. RTÉ reports that Porter also faces the possibility of having to serve previously suspended two-year prison sentence for an assault in Clare in 2009.

Fianna Fáil told this morning it won’t be commenting on the matter as it is an active case and it would “inappropriate” to do so.

Collins has also indicated he will not be making any comment until sentencing which is not due until 10 October.

Collins, a TD in Limerick since 2007, is a considerably high-profile party spokesperson who frequently called for the resignation of former justice minister Alan Shatter over various garda controversies in recent months.

He was the party spokesperson on Environment, Community and Local Government from April 2011 to July 2012 and was also director of elections during the party’s successful opposition to the abolition of the Seanad in October last year.

Read: Shatter resignation a lesson for government to “listen to dissenting voices”