Rathmore man who took over cannabis cultivation operation after father’s passing receives four-year prison sentence

A Rathmore man who took over a cannabis cultivation operation after his father’s passing has received a four-year prison sentence.

Owen O’Rourke of Gortavehy, Rathmore had earlier pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis for sale and supply and the cultivation of cannabis plants at his family home in Rathmore on the 18th and 21st April, 2013.

The court heard the family was cultivating cannabis to pay off their mortgage, following the passing of the accused’s father.

At an earlier hearing, Detective Garda O’Dwyer told the court that he obtained a search warrant for the accused’s family home in April of 2013.

They searched the property and found 200 cannabis plants, either growing or harvested.

Mr O’Rourke was located three days later and made full admissions during garda interviews; he said his mother assisted him with cultivating the plants, since his father had passed away two months previously.

He said the cultivation operation was set up by his father, who used it to fund a failing plumbing business.

The detective said it was a large-scale operation, with a potential value of up to €160,000, if all plants were cultivated.

Mr O’Rourke, a father-of-one, has no previous convictions, while his mother received a fully suspended sentence in Cork Circuit Court three years ago.

Judge Tom O’Donnell said the operation was of a commercial nature and the accused was one of the main suppliers of cannabis to the town of Killarney.

He imposed a four-year sentence for the sale and supply offence and a concurrent two-year sentence for the cultivation offence, backdated to November of last year.