Man gets 4½ years for laundering ‘drugs money’

David Dowling (49) caught handling total of €169,000 in Blanchardstown and Clonsilla

Judge Martin Nolan said David Dowling was an “essential cog in a drug-dealing enterprise”.

Judge Martin Nolan said David Dowling was an “essential cog in a drug-dealing enterprise”.


A father-of-two has been jailed for 4½ years for laundering tens of thousands of euro for a criminal gang.

David Dowling (49) was caught handling a total of €169,000 of what gardaí told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was “drugs money”.

Dowling of Sorrell Heath, Clonsilla, pleaded guilty last July to two charges of engaging in the business of handling the proceeds of crime at Westend Retail Business Park, Blanchardstown, and at Sorrell Heath on September 26th, 2015.

Judge Martin Nolan said that Dowling was an “essential cog in a drug-dealing enterprise”. He said Dowling received cash from other parties and vacuum packed it so that it could be moved onwards and out of the State.

Judge Nolan said that there were parties at “the top of the pyramid” in drug-dealing operations “who do it to make a lot of money”.

“David Dowling was helping these parties. There is no point in having money if you can’t move it where you want to move it,” he said.

Dowling has 17 previous convictions, dating from the 1980s and 1990s. Judge Nolan said these were old convictions and he was not taking them into consideration for his sentence.

Surveillance operation

Det Garda Paul Kane told the court that, in September 2015, gardaí set up a surveillance operation after receiving confidential information about the laundering of substantial sums of money by a criminal organisation.

They stopped Dowling in a van after he was seen picking up a package from a car during a meeting in a car park in Westend retail park. The package contained €69,610 in cash.

During a follow-up search of Dowling’s family home in Clonsilla, gardaí went upstairs and saw a woman going into a bedroom where she threw some clothes into a sports bag. She picked up the bag and told them she was taking her children to the swimming pool.

Gardaí told her to put the bag down and, on searching it, they found €6,000 concealed in a towel. Another €85,020 was found behind a curtain in the house, bringing the total seized in the house to €99,020.

Asked by Judge Nolan where the money came from, the detective said: “It’s drugs money.” He told the court he knew this because of intelligence obtained from confidential sources.

Judge Nolan said that references handed into the court described Dowling as a “good family man and a good community man”.

“Unfortunately he involved himself in a very serious scheme, handling profits from drug-dealing,” the judge said.