Heroin addict (40) ‘would be better off in custody’ , judge says

Michael Veale jailed after being caught with drug three times in the space of three months

A heroin addict (40), who was caught by gardai with the drug three times within a three month period, has been sentenced to five years in jail.

Michael Veale, a native of Dungarvan in Co Waterford, pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to nine separate charges relating to the seizures by gardai in Cork on March 18th, April 17th and May 8th 2019.

Garda Michael Walsh told how he stopped and searched Veale on Albert Road in Cork on March 18th and found €1,530 worth of heroin on his person before getting a warrant to search his flat at Park View, Victoria Road in Cork.

There, gardai found €13,159 worth of heroin to bring the total drugs haul to €14,689 along with €2,125 in cas. Veale admitted being a heroin addict who was using between five and six bags of heroin a day.


Garda Walsh then told the court how gardaí searched an address at Charlemont Terrace on Wellington Road on April 17th. They found Veale in a bedroom where they also found €34,850 worth of heroin and €900 in cash.

They also found drug paraphernalia in the bedroom. While Veale initially denied any knowledge of the drugs, he later took responsibility for them and said he owed €18,000 to a dealer on foot of the earlier drugs seizure in March.

Less than a month later, gardaí carried out another search under warrant of a house on Sunday’s Well Road where they again found Veale in a bedroom where they also found €2,087 worth of heroin and €285 in cash.

Veale took responsibility for the drugs, said Garda Walsh, adding Veale had 142 previous convictions including one for possession for sale or supply or drug dealing and six for simple possession of drugs.

Defence barrister, Paula McCarthy BL said Veale was originally from Dungarvan but had been living with the Simon Community in Cork for the past 19 years. He said Veale was currently on a methadone programme while on remand in jail.

Judge Sean O Donnabhain noted that Veale had pleaded guilty to all nine offences. He accepted he was struggling to cope with his addiction particularly when he was out in the community.

“He has a miserable life and if I was to take a charitable view, he would be better off in custody. He’s around town for the last 19 years, taking drugs . He’d better off if I gave him ten years in jail,” he said.

The biggest thing in Veale’s favour was his guilty pleas to all nine charges which included four counts of possession, four counts of possession for sale or supply and one count of possessing over €13,000 worth of drugs for sale of supply.

Judge O Donnabhain said that Veale was his own worst enemy with “a raging addiction to drugs” and he was ending up drug dealing every time he was back in the community because he owed money to others in the drugs trade.

He said he would impose a two year jail term for the March drug-dealing charge and a five year concurrent term for the April drug-dealing charge along with two years consecutive for the May drug-dealing, which he would suspend.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times