Rattigan gets 17 years for dealing €1m of heroin while in prison
Sentence will run in tandem with 2009 life sentence for murder
Brian Rattigan leaving court in 2009 after he was found guilty of the murder of Declan Gavin outside a fast-food restaurant in Crumlin in 2001. Photograph: Collins
Dublin criminal Brian Rattigan, who last month became the first drug dealer to be found guilty of charges connected to directing the supply of drugs while in prison, has been jailed for 17 years by the Special Criminal Court.
The non-jury court this afternoon directed that Rattigan’s sentence commence from June 2008, meaning it will run in tandem with his 2009 life sentence for the murder of 21-year-old Declan Gavin, which itself was backdated to February 2003.
Last month the court agreed with the prosecution case that Rattigan (32) was the director of a drugs gang conducting a €1 million heroin deal.
Passing sentence, presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler said the court had regard to the “very frightening” evidence of drugs expert Detective Sergeant Brian Roberts, who told the court of the effect heroin had on society as well as the “alarming” 3,972 drug-related deaths in Ireland between 2004 and 2010.
Defence counsel, Brendan Grehan SC, said a report before the court detailed how Rattigan was a compliant, mannerly and well-regarded prisoner and had been at the forefront of acting at the last two prison Christmas pantomime productions of the Wizard of Oz and Cinderella.
Mr Grehan said that Rattigan had in some respects reaped what he had sowed and had lost several people close to him and had not been able to enjoy a proper relationship with his young daughter.
Mr Justice Butler said the most obvious aggravating factor in the case was that Rattigan carried out the offence while in prison while serving a sentence, but although this was always a “very serious matter” the court noted that the defendant could not be “doubly punished”.
He said Rattigan had “very relevant previous convictions”, including one for possession of heroin for sale or supply, and the court had taken in to account the effect Rattigan’s involvement in drugs and violence has had on the community, as well the defendant’s own family and associates.
Mr Justice Butler said that after taking all matters in to consideration, the court considered the most appropriate sentence to be one of 17 years.
Rattigan, formerly of Cooley Road, Drimnagh, had pleaded not guilty to the possession of heroin and two counts of possession of the drug for sale or supply on Hughes Road South, Walkinstown, Dublin 12 on May 21st, 2008.
He is serving a life sentence in Portlaoise prison having been found guilty by a jury in December 2009 of stabbing 21-year-old Declan Gavin to death outside an Abrakebabra fast-food restaurant in Crumlin on August 25th, 2001.
Rattigan made no reaction as the sentence was handed down.