A CONVICTED drug dealer has been banned from several parts of Limerick for a period of two years, after a court heard he had helped fuel a drug scourge in the city.
William Coady, (32), of Verdant Crescent was banned from the greater King’s Island area including, St Mary’s Park, Verdant Place, Assumpta Park, Lee Estate and Nicholas Street.
Judge Marie Keane granted a application by Limerick City and County Council for an exclusion order against Mr Coady at a hearing of Limerick District Civil Court today.
The Council sought a maximum three year exclusion against Coady, in a prosecution brought under the Housing Act.
The court heard that Coady is currently serving a 12-month jail sentence imposed last October for possession of drugs for sale or supply and is due for release next July.
Coady, who was handcuffed to two prison officers, represented himself in court.
He said he would be left homeless because the exclusion zone included a council-owned property where he lived as a guest of his mother, the only approved tenant.
Judge Keane told him: “You’re an adult, it’s a matter for you to source you’re own accommodation. It’s not a matter for the local authority”.
Council Housing Officer Seamus Hayes said the local authority had received “numerous complaints, from different sources” that Coady was dealing drugs in the King’s Island/St Mary’s Park area.
Mr Hayes said he raised the Council’s “extreme concern” with Coady’s mother in June 2020 and again in January 2022, and advised her that her son’s alleged conduct could have a serious impact on her tenancy and the local community, but this had no positive impact.
He added that the Council believed Coady was “supplying and selling drugs on a consistent and regular basis” which was having a detrimental impact on people in the area where there was a “huge problem with drugs and drug dealing”.
The housing officer agreed with council solicitor Ger Reidy that other people were in fear of giving evidence against Coady in court, but that he stood over his testimony.
Mr Hayes said the Council and Gardaí jointly launched “Operation Copog” in January 2021 to tackle drug dealing in the King’s Island/St Mary’s Park area.
The Council had cleared away “unauthorised developments” associated with the drug problem, and Gardai conducted searches, arrested people, and seized drugs.
“We believe it is the most seriously affected area in the city because of drugs, and we believe the Exclusion Order has to cover the entire Kings island area,” said Mr Hayes.
In cross-examination, Coady asked Mr Hayes: “how am I the only fella being picked out of a bunch in the whole of the city, when there are more people around”.
Mr Hayes replied he could “not comment on any other cases”.
Garda Eimear O’Sullivan of the Limerick Divisional Drugs Unit said they had received numerous complaints Coady was “actively involved in the sale and supply of controlled drugs” in the greater King’s Island area.
The local community lived in fear because there were numerous people in the area suffering from addiction, which she said, leads to begging, robberies and burglaries to feed their habit.
Coady’s presence in the community had a negative impact on the lives of local people. He had a number of criminal convictions, ten of these were for drugs offences, including six convictions for possessing drugs for sale or supply, and four for possession.
Garda O’Sullivan said there was a very significant drugs problem in the St Mary’s Park and King’s Island area which was exacerbated by Mr Coady’s presence there.
Mr Reidy said Coady’s alleged conduct was “very clearly anti-social behaviour” and that the Council’s application seeking an exclusion order was “in keeping with good estate management”.
Judge Keane said she was satisfied Coady’s alleged conduct met the threshold of anti-social behaviour.
Approving the exclusion order for a two-year period, to start upon the date of his release from prison, she told him: “Mr Coady you are nothing more than a guest of your mother and when you’re a guest you are obliged to behave yourself”.
She added that the residents of the greater Kings Island area, including the children there, were “entitled to live their lives without fear or exposure to anti-social behaviour”.