Acting suspicious  | 

Ex Sinn Fein candidate caught with €15k of cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine has case adjourned

The smaller amount of cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis and four viagra tablets were his own and he was planning a weekend away with his girlfriend
Martin Kelly at Naas Court

Martin Kelly at Naas Court

Eamon Dillon

A FORMER Sinn Fein election candidate caught in possession of €15,200 worth of cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy stashed in a pub he managed had been spotted by gardaí acting suspiciously in the car park.

Martin Kelly (46) from Naas, Co Kildare pleaded guilty to possession of the drugs, including cocaine worth over €11,000 kept in an office at Swan Dowling’s Pub.

A garda witness gave evidence at a sentence hearing this week how Kelly, who appeared agitated and nervous, was searched along with the pub and the house where he lived with his mother at the time.

He later admitted in garda interviews that he had held the largest cache of drugs for unnamed person and handed over a package once a month.

The smaller amount of cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis and four viagra tablets were his own and he was planning a weekend away with his girlfriend when arrested on 3 September 2019.

The main stash of cocaine was found in the office in 25 smaller bags inside a plastic shopping bag and added up to 462 grams.

His defence counsel had said Kelly had no formal qualifications but had worked his way up in the pub trade to become a manager.

Kelly had previously been married and still supported his children as well as his sister who he cared for, and he had been a local election candidate.

It was pointed out Kelly had no previous convictions, was at low risk of re-offending and had not come to “adverse garda attention” over the two years since his arrest.

The case was previously adjourned in February last year last when Kelly had pleaded guilty to allow arrangements to be put in place for the care of his special needs sister.

It was feared she could end up being placed in A+E if he was sent to prison it was heard at the time.

This week Judge Mary O'Malley Costello agreed to adjourn the case until later this month because “it was not clear what is to happen with his dependent relative.”

She added she not “making any promises” whether Kelly would be imprisoned and remanded him on bail to appear in court again next week.

Kelly had stood for Sinn Fein in the 2011 election in which he listed his involvement in a campaign against head shops as an example of his community involvement.

He won 2,896 first preference votes, which ranked him seventh of the dozen candidates who ran for the Dáil in the Kildare North constituency.

He posed for a promotional photograph with the other party candidates that year including Mary Lou McDonald and Gerry Adams.

Sinn Fein's press office confirmed to the Sunday World last February Kelly is no longer a member of the party "and has not been for a considerable period of time."

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