Former general election candidate Sinn Fein jailed for three years for possession of drugs worth 15,000 euros

A FORMER general election candidate Sinn Fein has been sentenced to three years in prison for possession of more than 15,000 euros worth of drugs.

Martin Kelly, who ran in 2011 as Sinn FeinKildare North constituency candidate, pleaded guilty to 16 separate charges related to the possession of €15,200 worth of drugs at the Swan Kelly pub on Newbridge Road, Naas, Co Kildare on the 3rd of May. September 2019.

Kelly was caught with cocaine, marijuana and ecstacy


Kelly was caught with cocaine, marijuana and ecstacyCredit: Google

Seven of the charges relate to the sale and supply of drugs.

The Naas Circuit Criminal Court tried Kelly, 46, a estranged father from Hazelmere, Naas, Co. Kildare, was arrested with cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy during a search of the pub he operated in Naas, Co Kildare and its adjacent parking lot.

Judge Mary O’Malley Costello described Kelly as “a small cog in a big wheel but a necessary cog without which this industry cannot succeed.”

There is evidence that Gardaí saw Kelly behaving suspiciously while boarding in the pub parking lot with a red bag.

Garda Witnesses described how Kelly became agitated and stressed when approached by detectives.

Examination of the bag revealed a metal tin containing four bags of cocaine and some ecstasy as well as 900 euros in cash.

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Kelly told gardaí that the drug was for his own personal use.

Further quantities of cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy as well as drug-injecting equipment and “checklists” of drug suppliers were discovered during a subsequent search of the pub.


A search of Kelly’s home later discovered an additional amount of marijuana and a fake gun.

The court heard Kelly denied involvement in the drug trade but told gardaí he was given cocaine in return for keeping the drugs and giving them to someone else.

Kelly denies having a habit of using drugs but admits to using drugs.

While Kelly cooperated with gardaí, he refused to give the names of those who gave him the drugs out of fear for his family’s safety.

Judge O’Malley Costello said that the defendant was promoting a very difficult problem for society and had put customers and staff in his pub at risk but was caught red-handed.

The judge held that Kelly’s use of the pub to supply drugs was a breach of trust as the curator of a licensed establishment.


She added: “Drugs are a scourge to society and one would not expect a licensed establishment to be used and abused in this way.”

The judge accepted Kelly into the drugs because of his personal need for cocaine and he was pressured to keep them.

The court said Kelly became the primary caregiver for his sister, who has special needs following the death of his mother in September 2020.

Sentencing in the case has been adjourned as of February 2021 to allow time for Kelly to arrange respite care for her sister.

Detective Garda Louise Fleming told the court that the HSE had stated it would find accommodation for her sister Kelly if there was an emergency because she said she did not want to be placed in an inpatient care facility.

Judge O’Malley Costello said she thought Kelly’s former role as a community activist would help him see that sticking to drugs “is not a path to relief”.


The court said Swan Dowling’s pub closed in early 2020 and Kelly had lost her license and lease agreement.

A probation report showed the defendant had a low risk of recidivism.

Sentencing Kelly to five years in prison, Judge O’Malley Costello suspended the final two years of the sentence for a four-year term.

“I know this is difficult for his family but I have no choice,” the judge commented.

Part of Kelly’s campaign manifesto when he ran for a seat on the Social Security Administration in 2011 was his opposition to store chiefs.

Kelly placed 7th out of 12 candidates in the election in Kildare North, receiving 2,896 first preference votes – 5.65% of the total valid votes.

Sinn Fein announced last year that Kelly was no longer a member of the party and “had been out for a substantial period of time”. Former general election candidate Sinn Fein jailed for three years for possession of drugs worth 15,000 euros

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