Man paid €600 for part in €2m drugs operation gets 10 years

Bereaved Terry O’Donoghue (50) borrowed €2,500 for daughter’s funeral


A bereaved father who became involved in a €2 million cannabis operation over the bill for his daughter’s funeral has received a ten year prison sentence.

Terry O’Donoghue (50) told gardaí that a man had approached him in a pub shortly after his teenage daughter had died and asked if he had enough money to cover the funeral.

O’Donoghue said he borrowed €2,500 from this person and got involved delivering drugs to offset the debt.

His co-accused Michael Lawlor (40) admitted he was a compulsive gambler and acted as a “low level courier” in the drugs operation for “handy money”. He said he was to be paid €500 for his part.

O’Donoghue, of Ely Close, Old Court Road, Tallaght pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing €2 million of cannabis herb at a slip road off the N7, a lane at Castlewarden, Co Kildare and at Cookstown Industrial Estate, Tallaght between February 27th and 28th, 2013.

Lawlor, of Cois Na Choil, Pollerton, Carlow, pleaded guilty to possessing just over €600,000 of cannabis herb at the lane at Castlewarden, Co Kildare on February 28th, 2013.

O’Donoghue, whose wife died from cancer in 2008, has one previous conviction for drunk driving. Judge Mary Ellen Ring sentenced him to ten years imprisonment.

She imposed a seven-year prison term on Lawlor, who has no previous convictions. She suspended the last year on both sentences.

She said that both men were strangers to each other who had been identified as vulnerable. They were exploited by others to play an essential role in a significant drugs operation.

The court heard that O’Donoghue had received €600 and been promised “a few bob at Christmas” for his role.