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Toddler was in van while dad conducted heroin and cocaine deal

Graham O Toole
Graham O Toole

A two-year-old boy was in his father's van when the man handed over cocaine and heroin to another man in Dublin last year.

Graham O'Toole (24) the driver of the van, Tara Kennedy (22) the child's mother and Alan Dowling (46) who received the drugs, are all due to be sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in November for their various roles in a €2 million drug bust.

Gardaí had the car that Dowling was driving under surveillance when they saw him meet up with O'Toole in Ballyfermot where €854,000 worth of cocaine and heroin was handed over.

Dowling was stopped minutes later and told gardaí that there were drugs in the boot of his car. Gardaí discovered seven kilogrammes of cocaine and 2.2 kilogrammes of heroin.

Detective Sergeant Gregory Sheehan told Noel Devitt BL, prosecuting that gardaí followed O'Toole to the home he shared with his partner, Kennedy. There were concerns that a further quantity of drugs was in the van and the drugs would go missing if gardaí didn't move in.

A warrant was quickly secured and the house was searched.

Both O'Toole and Kennedy were in the kitchen with their son along with three bin liners full of cannabis herb. Another bag of the drug was found in the sitting room before a further two kilogrammes of cocaine and a kilogramme of heroin were also discovered.

Det Sgt Sheehan said the total value of the drugs found in O'Toole's home was €1,158,600.

Dowling of Drumalee Park, North Circular Road and O'Toole of Ballyfermot Drive, Ballyfermot pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of drugs for sale or supply on October 10, 2015.

Mr Devitt told Judge Melanie Greally that Dowling was pleading guilty on the basis that he was taking responsibility for the drugs found in his boot, while O'Toole was taking responsibility for the drugs found in his home.

Kennedy, also of Ballyfermot Drive, pleaded guilty to allowing her home to be used for the sale, supply or distribution of the 17.37 kilogrammes of cannabis, valued at €347,400.

Dowling has 16 previous convictions for road traffic offences and Kennedy has no previous convictions.

O'Toole received a four year sentence with the final two years suspended in October 2012 after he pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary of his father's home.

Judge Greally adjourned sentencing to November 14 and remanded all three on continuing bail. She ordered probation reports for both Dowling and O'Toole after noting that one had already been prepared for Kennedy.

Barristers representing each accused will address the judge on the next date.

Det Sgt Sheehan said O'Toole admitted during garda interview that he had been asked to collect water pumps and remove cannabis from them. He said he was under financial pressure for Christmas.

Dowling told gardaí that he got a phone call to “meet a fella at 2pm in Ballyfermot”. He said he waited for the man and picked up the parcel.

He said he was disgusted when he saw the young boy in the van. He was to get €1,000 for his role which he was going to use to pay off a €4,000 drug debt.

Kennedy claimed she had nothing to do with the drugs and said she had been involved with the children but gardaí observed her taking the water pumps out of the back of the van at her home.

Det Sgt Sheehan agreed with Paul Greene SC, for O'Toole that his mother died when he was three years old and his older siblings, who were then 11 and 13 years old, raised him. His father had a serious drink problem and wasn't in a position to look after his children.

O'Toole was taken into residential care as a young boy but they managed to get him back into the family on the basis that his father “had turned a corner”.

Counsel said “unfortunately this didn't work out” and Det Sgt Sheehan confirmed that O'Toole's one conviction for burglary, arose out of a dispute with his father.

Det Sgt Sheehan also confirmed that O'Toole was “not on the garda radar” at the time of the offence.

He agreed with Padraig Dwyer SC, defending Kennedy that a probation report before the court was positive and said he would be “hopeful” that she wouldn't be before the courts again.

Det Sgt Sheehan agreed with Bernard Condon SC, defending Dowling, that the father of three, made immediate admissions on arrest and indicated to the garda that pulled him over that there were drugs in the car.