pain and stress | 

Louth footballer turned to drugs because of pain but couldn’t afford habit

The court heard Thomas Byrne was a qualified mechanic and turned to cannabis

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A talented footballer who turned to drugs because of the pain and stress he was under has appeared before the district court.

Thomas Byrne (23), ‘Our House’, Drogheda Road, Tinure, Dunleer, pleaded guilty to possession and possession for sale or supply of cannabis valued more than €1,000.

It was stated that he couldn’t sustain his habit on the wages he was earning as an apprentice mechanic and started selling drugs to friends.

Inspector John Callanan presented evidence that on 28 January 2021 gardaí searched under warrant Mr Byrne’s address. He admitted ownership of €1,196-worth of cannabis which was found.

It was not at the higher end of supply, the inspector said.

There were no previous convictions.

Solicitor Paul Moore on Monday handed into court a letter written by the defendant explaining his actions.

He was going through significant pain and stress at the time. A talented footballer, he went to the UK for trials with “a prominent club.”

Mr Moore said that didn’t work out and Mr Byrne also “suffered equal pressure with Irish teams.”

He was a qualified mechanic and turned to cannabis. He sold small quantities to friends to fund his habit.

Mr Byrne was quite forthcoming with gardaí and fully accepted responsibility. He lived at home and had the full support of his family.

There was “a small, ongoing problem” with cannabis, the solicitor continued.

The defendant hoped to carry on his football and work plans.

Judge McKiernan asked would this not be a case suitable for the Drugs Court.

Inspector Callanan said it would have been.

The matter was initially listed for hearing, Mr Moore pointed out.

The judge remarked these were an unusual set of circumstances.

She remanded Thomas Byrne on continuing bail to November 7 for a probation report and Drugs Court assessment.

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