Lorry driver jailed for six years for bringing nearly ten kilos of heroin into Ireland

Central Criminal Court
Central Criminal Court

A Wexford lorry driver has been jailed for six years for bringing nearly ten kilos of heroin into Ireland concealed in a box of fire extinguishers.

Vincent Halligan (33) from Duncormick in Co Wexford pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three charges of importing heroin from the German/Dutch border, on August 18, 2015.

The drugs which had a street value of €1.4 million were in Halligan's articulated lorry when he arrived into Dublin Port by ferry on the night of August 18 last year.

He was to be paid €8,000 in cash for importing the drugs but he never received this.

The court heard that €2,600 in cash was found in the truck, which the accused said belonged to him, as well as £2,000 which was part of the drugs transaction.

Dean Kelly BL, prosecuting, said gardaí had anticipated the arrival of the truck and were waiting for it at the Applegreen Service Station off the M7 on the night.

A handover of drugs was then conducted between the lorry and the driver of a silver Toyota car which had been waiting in the car park. Gardaí intervened when the box containing the drugs was being removed from the lorry and Halligan was arrested.

The father of three admitted that he knew there was drugs involved but believed it was cannabis.

The court heard that Halligan, who has no previous convictions, was "a hard working and decent person" prior to his conviction.

Patrick McGrath SC, defending, said his client had suffered financial pressures as a result of separating from his partner. He took out loans with "unscrupulous persons" and "buckled under the pressure" to repay them.

"He has accepted he wrongfully took a chance and agreed to bring these drugs into the country for a sum of €8,000," said counsel.

Counsel said Halligan was "genuinely remorseful" and had already been in custody for eight months.

The mother of the accused, Catherine Halligan told the court that it was a "shock to the system" to find out her son was in trouble with the law and said it was "totally out of character."

"He is the one of the best fathers any child can ask for. He would live or die for his children and is the best son any mother could ask for,” she said.

Judge Melanie Greally said that the mitigating factors in this case was Halligan's early pleas and his "particularly high level of cooperation" with gardaí.

The judge imposed an eight year sentence on Halligan with the final two years suspended. She backdated the sentence to when he first went into custody on August 18 last year.