By Jessica Magee
A man has been jailed for seven years after he was caught handing over €417,000 worth of heroin outside a Dublin pub last year.
Gregory Dunne (39) of North Circular Road in Dublin, pleaded guilty to possessing 2.9 kg of heroin outside the Lamplighter pub in Dublin 8 on April 12, 2022.
Passing sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Monday last, Judge Elma Sheahan said the fact Dunne had a previous serious drugs conviction was an aggravating factor. She handed down a sentence of eight years with the final year suspended on a number of conditions.
The court heard that the outside of the Lamplighter was under surveillance by gardaí from the Dublin Metropolitan Regional Surveillance team on the day in question.
Gardaí saw a woman identified as Sharon Hickey approach the pub carrying a multi-coloured beach bag and speak to Dunne at the front door.
Dunne was seen placing a package in a green Aldi bag into Hickey’s beach bag, before handing her a sum of cash.
Garda Kerrie Sullivan told Shaun Smyth BL, prosecuting, that Hickey then hailed a taxi and was later intercepted on Tyrconnell Road.
Hickey (45) with an address at Dolphin’s Barn, Kilmainham, Dublin 8 faces sentence on December 1 next.
Gardaí got a warrant to seize CCTV footage from The Lamplighter pub showing Dunne with the same green Aldi bag before he handed it over to Hickey.
A warrant was used to search Dunne’s home the following day but nothing of evidential value was found.
Dunne presented himself at Kevin Street Garda Station a number of hours after his home was searched and was arrested.
The heroin was analysed as having an estimated street value of €417,480.
Dunne has 19 previous convictions, including one for possessing a kilo of heroin in 2012, for which he received a three-year sentence.
The remainder of his convictions are for summary road traffic offences.
Garda Sullivan agreed with Sean Gillane SC, defending, that Dunne was very cooperative and respectful when interviewed.
Mr Gillane said Dunne was born and raised in the Liberties and has shown himself capable of being a productive member of society and a very positive influence on his 12-year-old son.
The court heard that Dunne has been working for about 20 years and has always been able to provide for himself.
Mr Gillane said his client began abusing tablets shortly after leaving school, progressing to cocaine, before he went into full time residential treatment for 12 months in 2010.
Dunne became clean of drugs but could not dispel his drug debts, counsel said, which is when he got involved in his 2012 conviction.
After serving his sentence he qualified as a gym instructor and has been in a stable relationship since.
Dunne was involved in a very serious road traffic accident in 2018 which “knocked him sideways” said counsel, and he began to take tablets again and found himself back before the courts.
Garda Sullivan agreed with counsel that there was nothing in Dunne’s life to suggest the trappings of wealth, but said she would place him “slightly higher” than the bottom rung of the ladder in the drugs operation.
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