Garda found accused’s story difficult to swallow

Clarification: In the Irish Examiner of January 24, we published an article concerning a man who was fined €500 at Cork District Court on January 23 for obstructing a drugs search. The address of the defendant was given in court as 7 Beechwood Grove, Onslow Gardens, Commons Road, Cork.

Garda found accused’s story difficult to swallow

By Liam Heylin

A drug was swallowed to obstruct a search but the culprit claimed it was part of a €50 note he did not want his wife to see.

Garda Eric Brannigan challenged Bernard McDonagh on this suggestion that he had swallowed a torn part of a €50 note because his wife did not know about it. The garda said he had a number of other clearly visible €50 notes in his hand at the time.

“Why didn’t you swallow those too?” Garda Brannigan asked McDonagh, of 7 Beechwood Grove, Onslow Gardens, Commons Rd, Cork.

The 33-year-old replied: “Because my wife knew about them ones.”

The story — which Garda Brannigan found hard to swallow — all started after midnight on August 10, 2016, when McDonagh and four others tried to get into a taxi at the Crestfield shopping centre in Glanmire, Co Cork.

Garda Brannigan said the taxi driver tried to explain he could take no more than four people at a time and eventually had to call gardaí to help him deal with the row.

When gardaí arrived, McDonagh was keen to make the point that he had plenty of money to pay for a taxi, despite being told that the issue was the capacity of the taxi and not payment.

However, he took out his money to show it to the guard. As he did so a small packet containing white powder fell from his bundle of notes.

McDonagh reacted by getting down on the ground, pouncing on the packet, and swallowing it. He was later charged with obstructing a drugs search by doing so.

He said it was not a drug but a scrap of a €50 note.

The claims by the defendant were brought to the attention of the court through a recorded memo of interview conducted by the garda. The defendant did not turn up in court to face the charge of obstructing a drugs search.

Judge Marie Keane fined him €500 in his absence.

The judge remarked to the Garda Brannigan: “He is more fearful of his wife than he is of you, guard.”

Garda Brannigan replied: “Apparently so.”

More in this section