Electrician turned cocaine dealer jailed

Paul Keenan
Paul Keenan

An electrician who turned to drug dealing to pay his mortgage after he became unemployed has been jailed for three years.

Gardaí found bags containing cocaine with an estimated street value of €19,840 after raiding the Dublin home of Paul Keenan (36). They also found cash in envelopes and in rolls totalling over €10,000.

Keenan of Griffeen Glen Park, Lucan, Co Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cocaine and cannabis for sale or supply at his home on April 24, 2014.

He was previously convicted of dealing drugs in 2003 and received a suspended sentence of five years.

Patrick Marrinan SC, defending, said despite how it looked, Keenan was not a career drug dealer. He said he had turned his back on drugs after the 2003 conviction and took up a respectable full time job as a electrician.

In June 2013 he was made redundant as the company did not have enough work for him. He quickly fell into arrears on a €480,000 mortgage.

“He borrowed too much from the bank as a lot of other people did. His life took a nosedive,” counsel said.

The court heard Keenan had been using cocaine recreationally but his habit became more serious as he became depressed. He saw a chance to make money from drugs to service his debts from both the bank and the drug dealers, Mr Marrinan said.

Garda Gavin Curtin told the court that during a search of Keenan's home they found bags of cocaine in a kitchen press and in a bedroom drawer. They also found a weighing scales, a drugs “tick list” and two mobile phones.

Cannabis with an estimated street value of €316 was also seized. Gardaí found €5,300 in a brown envelope, a roll of €1,000 and another €4,325 in an envelope in the bedroom.

Keenan told Gardaí that one of the mobile phones was his “drug dealing phone”. He said he owed a sum of €6,000 in drug debts and was selling an ounce a week and getting around €1,300 for this.

Garda Curtin agreed with Mr Marrinan that Keenan had since found a job with an alarm company and he was not on the garda radar.

John Keeling, Keenan's former boss, told the court that he had been an excellent employee, saying: “I would never condone what he did. He is genuinely a good person, but he just ran into trouble”.