Drug dealer busted by gardai during family intervention into her substance abuse

Debbie O'Reilly
Debbie O'Reilly

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.

Gda Ivor 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.

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 this with man and has moved out of the Ballybrack area.

Garda 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.

O’Reilly co-operated fully with gardaí and took responsibility for the kilogramme of cannabis herb, worth €21,920 and 8 grammes of PVP, a synthetic drug similar to cocaine, worth €312. The drugs were found in a shopping bag in her shed, behind a kicker board in the kitchen and 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.

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 councillor, 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.


By Declan Conlon