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Man who grew cannabis in period Kildare mansion is member of Guinness brewing dynasty

Finbar Cordell-Lavarack had been prescribed the drug in the US but could not buy it legally in Ireland, so ‘took matters into is own hands’

Finbar Cordell-Lavarack

Eamon DillonSunday World

A member of the famous Guinness brewing dynasty is facing sentencing for a cannabis “grow house” at his period mansion home in Co Kildare.

Finbar Cordell-Lavarack pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis plants worth €2,400, which under current garda valuations would suggest there were three plants.

The 30-year-old, who lives at his mother Marina Guinness’s address in Celbridge, Co Kildare, also pleaded guilty to possessing dried cannabis found by gardai worth €4,970.

His late father, music producer Denny Cordell, is credited with helping The Cranberries on their road to fame, and the Dolores O’Riordan-led band even recorded the song Cordell in tribute to him.

At a hearing in Blanchardstown District Court this week, it was heard that Finbar had been prescribed the drug medicinally in the US but could not buy it legally in Ireland.

He did not want to get involved in the drugs trade on his return to Ireland and took matters into “his own hands” when he began growing cannabis.

Lavarack had been previously diagnosed with anxiety and depression and had been prescribed medicinal cannabis in the US, the court heard.

More than €7,000 of the drug, including plants, was found in a garda raid on his home in what was described in court as a “grow house”.

He pleaded guilty to possession and cultivation of cannabis at his home on August 12, 2020. Cannabis plants worth €2,400 were found, along with dry cannabis worth €4,970, according to garda evidence.

Mr Lavarack, who has no previous convictions, accepted what he did was wrong, his lawyer told the court.

The lawyer said Mr Lavarack’s mother knew what he was doing, knew it was wrong, and she should have put a stop to it and “she takes some responsibility for the chaotic nature of both their lives”.

The lawyer said the accused was drug-free, had aspirations to travel in the future and asked the judge to consider leaving him without convictions.

Judge David McHugh said cannabis was illegal in this jurisdiction “full stop, end of story” and said €300 the accused had in court should be given to a drugs charity.

He noted it was an unusual case and Lavarack had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. Judge McHugh adjourned the case for a restorative justice programme report.

He said he would consider striking the charges out, leaving the accused without a criminal record, if the report was favourable.

Mr Lavarack’s mother Marina Guinness is known for her patronage of artists, with musicians and bands having used her home to rehearse and record.

These include Kila as well as Glen Hansard and the Frames, Damien Rice, Fionn Regan and Justin Manville.

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