Longford man fined after throwing ‘small package’ from car in garda chase

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Longford Courthouse.

A father of three who threw cannabis out the window of a car while being pursued by gardaí was asked by a judge last week: “Is daddy doing cannabis then?”

A father of three who threw cannabis out the window of a car while being pursued by gardaí was asked by a judge last week: “Is daddy doing cannabis then?”

Martin McDonagh (32), Derryharrow, Melview, Co Longford pleaded guilty to hurling around €40 worth of the drug from a moving car after attempting to flee a garda checkpoint at Clonterm, Longford on August 22 2019.

Newly promoted Inspector Paddy McGirl said the accused was spotted shortly after 2pm turning around at a house just yards from where officers were stopping traffic.

As gardaí pursued Mr McDonagh, the court was told the Longford man allegedly threw a “small package” from the car before being stopped moments later.

The package was later retrieved with an estimated €40 worth of the drug inside, said Inspector McGirl.

The court was also informed Mr McDonagh had one previous conviction for a drugs related offence which came in October 2017.

In defence, solicitor John Quinn accepted his client was someone who had dabbled in drug taking in the past, but was very much in command of his predilection.

“He (Mr McDonagh) has three young children,” said Mr Quinn.

“He has a habit but it's under control and he does take it (cannabis) for his own use.”

After being told Mr McDonagh's children were aged 12, 10 and five-years-old, Judge Miriam Walsh questioned the Longford man's parenting skills.

“Is daddy doing cannabis then?” she asked.

“Gosh, they have such a wonderful start in life, children, these days.”

Mr Quinn attempted to intervene for a second time by insisting that while Mr McDonagh's association with drugs was more worrying at the time of his earlier offence back in 2017, it was a habit his client was keeping a firm lid on.

Judge Walsh was not for budging, however, and claimed Mr McDonagh was far from a respectable role model to his children.

“I have this naive view that fathers are to be good examples to children, well silly me,” she sternly put it.

Mr Quinn said whatever about the ins and outs of Mr McDonagh's shortcomings with being found in possession of cannabis, there was “a move” in train to legalise the drug.

Judge Walsh challenged that theory, though, by insisting any attempts to legalise cannabis was being done to fit in with health grounds and not habitual ones.

Mr Quinn said his client was of the view the drug was enabling him to remain in a healthy state of mind and away from other, potentially more serious elements.

“Martin would feel it (cannabis) is doing his health good and keeping him away from other aspects,” argued Mr Quinn.

Judge Walsh consequently fined Mr McDonagh €250, giving him three months to pay.