A retired garda superintendent has been jailed for six and a half years for possessing cannabis worth almost €260,000.

62-year-old John Murphy from Clontarf in Dublin pleaded guilty to the charge after the drugs were found in his home and in his car during a search in September 2021.

The court heard he was in very significant debt and owed more than €850,000 at the time.

His lawyers said he was also a functioning alcoholic and this had clouded his judgment and brought him to this "sorry pass".

Defence counsel Michael O'Higgins said Murphy wanted to apologise to his family and to An Garda Síochána for the hurt and embarrassment he had caused.

Judge Martin Nolan said Murphy should have known better than involving himself in this type of drug dealing enterprise.

He said he was not an innocent abroad, he was a man of some substance and character and should have been able to withstand the temptation of easy money.

He jailed him for six and a half years backdated to October 2021, when he first went into custody.

Inspector Brian Hanley of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that as a result of information received, Murphy's home in Dublin was searched on 29 September 2021.

Eight bags of cannabis herb were seized. One was found in a walk-in wardrobe in the master bedroom upstairs. while a further seven bags were found in a coal bunker in the back garden.

More cannabis was found in a bag in the back seat of Murphy's car.

CCTV footage obtained by gardaí showed Murphy at a Co Meath industrial estate collecting the bags subsequently found at his home.

In total almost 13kg of cannabis was found, valued at just over €259,000.

The court heard that during questioning, Murphy took responsibility for the drugs found and apologised for the distress caused to his family.

Mr O'Higgins said Murphy had various business interests over the years.

He said his client fancied himself as a business person but had "the opposite of the midas touch" and any investment he made went down the drain.

He had invested €300,000 in taxi plates which were immediately deregulated. His investment was worthless and he had to remortgage his home.

He owed €129,000 to friends and family, including €29,000 he had borrowed from one of his sons and €10,000 from one of his brothers. In total he had debts of €855,000.

Mr O'Higgins said Murphy was also consuming very significant quantities of alcohol and was a functioning alcoholic, a factor which had clouded his judgment and brought him to "this sorry pass".

The court heard he was from a very large family with a long history of involvement in State service.

His father was a senior garda and his brother continues to serve in the force.

Mr O'Higgins said his family were disgusted and repulsed by the situation Murphy had found himself in but were nonetheless supporting him.

He said his client had told him to apologise publicly to his family and An Garda Síochána for the hurt and embarrassment caused.

What he had done was at odds with everything he had been raised to believe in and he would have enormous challenges in rebuilding his life.

Mr O'Higgins said his fall from grace, ten years after retiring from the force with 30 years service should not mean any extra punishment for him.

In his sentencing, Judge Nolan said it seemed Murphy was holding drugs for someone else for some type of financial reward.

As a retired member of An Garda Síochána he knew exactly what the criminal behaviour was.

He said he deserved a prison sentence but his early guilty plea meant he would reduce it from the mandatory minimum of 10 years to six and a half years.