Limerick mum gets jail over prison drug bust

Margaret Purcell, pictured in January of this year [Picture: Press 22]

Margaret Purcell, pictured in January of this year [Picture: Press 22]


A WOMAN who attempted to smuggle drugs for her son into Limerick Prison in December 2012 has had a nine-month suspended sentence activated after pleading guilty to a similar offence at the Midlands Prison in recent days.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly remarked that in “innumerable cases” before the courts, defence solicitors “point out the ease of access to drugs in Limerick Prison despite the best efforts of the staff of the Prison Service”.

And here was a case of a woman who had previously been caught trying to smuggle drugs into Limerick repeating the offence in Portlaoise.

He saw “no reason not to activate” the nine-month term he suspended in January 2014 in respect of 49-year-old Margaret Purcell, of Moylish Road, Ballynanty.

In January, Ms Purcell had admitted trying to smuggle cannabis and tablets into Limerick Prison for her son, a convicted drug dealer, on December 3, 2012.

The court heard in January that Ms Purcell had yet another conviction in relation to smuggling drugs in prison dating from January 9, 2012, when she had concealed €70 worth of cannabis in a pair of gloves she was wearing as she was about to enter the jail on Mulgrave Street.

Ms Purcell appeared before Portlaoise District Court on July 16 and pleaded guilty to a similar offence carried out at the Midlands Prison a day earlier.

She had been referred back to Limerick District Court under Section 99 of the Criminal Justice Act.

Solicitor John Devane explained that Ms Purcell had again been attempting to smuggle drugs into her son in the Midlands Prison in what he described as “an act of monumental stupidity”.

Ms Purcell is currently serving a two-year sentence in the Dochas centre at Mountjoy for possession for sale or supply of €12,000 worth of cannabis at Lee Estate on November 10, 2011.

Limerick Circuit Court heard in respect of that offence that she had been transporting 1kg of the drug in order to pay a drugs debt owed by her son.

Judge O’Kelly activated the nine-month sentence he had “reluctantly” suspended in January and remanded her to appear before Tullamore District Court on August 7 in respect of the offence in the Midlands Prison.


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