Intensive investigations this week into illegal drug operations in Waterford led to a man being charged at Ballybricken Garda Station last night (Thursday) under the Drug Trafficking Act.

He is Chris Connolly, in his late 20’s, of Meadow Bank, Waterford, whose brother Anthony (25) was given bail earlier in the day on charges of possession of cocaine and amphetamine and having them for sale or supply. He had been arrested on Sunday.

Chris Connolly was remanded to Waterford District Court today.

Another man of similar age arrested with him on Tuesday last – they were questioned separately at Dungarvan and Kilkenny Garda Stations – was released yesterday without charge, but a file is being prepared for submission to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Similarly in relation to a 19 year old arrested on Tuesday under Section 2 of The Drug Trafficking Act. He too was released yesterday and a file is being prepared for the DPP.

The garda activity is part of a major clampdown following the horrific consequences of last weekend’s house party in Ballybeg following which 15 people required hospital treatment and two remain critical, in a coma in WRH’s intensive care unit.

Anthony Connolly, of 43 Priory Lawn, Ballybeg, first appeared before Wednesday’s Court. He wore a light blue tracksuit, yellow tee-shirt and black and white trainers to court. He told Judge William Harnett he was “on disability” and was granted free legal aid.

Garda Michael Burke, in evidence, said the defendant made numerous replies when informed of the charges the previous evening. He said “no comment” to one charge and to another replied: “The cocaine is mine; the speed is not”.

“I had a little bit of speed in my hand at the house”, he further stated. “I did have amphetamine but it wasn’t mine, if you know what I mean.”

Inspector Tom Duggan opposed a bail application by Solicitor Pat Newell. He voiced concern that the defendant might not answer bail having had three bench warrants issued against him in the past, between September 2005 and June 2006. And the Judge remarked: “These are serious charges”.

Mr. Newell said: “Without prejudicing the case, the court knows this is not a pattern of systemic failure to attend”. He said his client, “troubled in the areas of literacy and grasping matters”, had mixed up dates of court appearances in the past. He had been co-operative with the Gardai.

Mr. Connolly was remanded to Kilkenny District Court next Tuesday, in custody with consent to bail in his own bond of €400 with an independent surety of €4,000. Bail was conditional on his signing on at Waterford Garda Station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and surrendering his passport.

At yesterday’s court, his mother Joan’s surety was approved and he was released on bail. When she told Judge Harnett she had the money he asked if it was her own and she said it was. He further enquired if it was “sudden” money and was assured by Mr. Newell it wasn’t.

Still in coma

The Ballybeg incident was repeatedly instanced during yesterday’s lengthy Dáil debate on the drugs crisis. Labour spokesperson, Deputy Jack Wall, has submitted a Dáil question to the Minister for Social Welfare, Martin Cullen, for next Wednesday as to how one of the alleged drugs suspects is in receipt of disability allowance.

  • Also see pages 2, 3, 4, 6 & 14 this section.