THE mother of a convicted drug dealer, who herself is serving a prison sentence for narcotics offences, has admitted trying to smuggle drugs into her son at Limerick Prison for a second time.
At Limerick Court, Sergeant Donal Cronin said Margaret Purcell, aged 48, of Moylish Road, Ballynanty was arrested on December 3, 2012 after she was observed by prison officers trying to hand 14 tablets and a quantity of cannabis to her son, whom she was visiting at the time.
“The contraband was intercepted and handed to gardai,” he told Judge Eugene O’Kelly.
Sgt Cronin said Ms Purcell was previously convicted in relation to a similar offence, which happened on January 9, 2012 for which she received a six month prison sentence.
The court was told the defendant is currently serving a two year prison sentence, which was imposed last year after she pleaded guilty to possession of a significant amount of drugs for the purpose of sale or supply.
That sentence was imposed after she admitted transporting almost a kilogramme of cannabis in order to pay a drugs debt owed by her son.
Limerick Circuit Court was told in February 2013, the drugs, worth almost €12,000, were seized at Lee Estate on November 10, 2011. During a sentencing hearing in relation to that offence, Judge Carroll Moran was told Ms Purcell was put under “ferocious pressure” to transport the drugs in order to repay a drugs debt owed by her son who was in prison at the time.
In relation to the incident on December 3, 2012 solicitor John Devane, representing Ms Purcell, said his client had been “duped” into bringing the drugs into the prison
“She felt she couldn’t say no as she believed he (her son) was going to be stabbed to death,” he said adding that she had cooperated with gardai and had “put her hands up at the earliest available opportunity”.
Mr Devane questioned the delay in bringing the proceedings against his client, who is not due to be released until September.
He added that Ms Purcell had never been in trouble with the gardai prior to the offences and he said she is attending training at Limerick Prison.
Imposing sentence, Judge O’Kelly commented that the imposition of a two year prison sentence at the circuit court last year shows how seriously the courts regard people who bring drugs into inmates.
However, noting her guilty plea and her cooperation, he said he was willing to give her “some light at the end of the tunnel”.
The judge imposed a nine month prison sentence, which he suspended for two years. In doing so, her said when Ms Purcell comes under pressure again to smuggle drugs she will have to weigh up whether or not she wants to go to jail.