Former garda Jimell Henry has been sentenced to three years in prison, with the final 18 months suspended, for passing information on to criminals.

In the first prosecution of its kind in the State, Henry, 36, of Cairns Hill, Sligo, had plead guilty to 11 charges at Sligo Circuit Court.

She pleaded guilty to three charges of disclosing information obtained in the course of her duties as a garda knowing it was likely to have a harmful effect.

The offences were committed in September and December of 2014 and in January 2015 in Dublin.

She also admitted four counts of disclosing personal data obtained without authority.

These four breaches of the Data Protection Act corresponded to the charges under the Garda Síochána Act of disclosing information.

In addition, Henry pleaded guilty to four charges of dishonestly obtaining prescription drugs, including Anxicalm and Stilnoct, by using invalid photocopied or forged prescriptions.

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Judge Keenan Johnson said he regretfully came to the conclusion that a custodial sentence was unavoidable because of the gravity of the offences.

He said she had put the lives of members of the public at risk, undermined the force and brought great shame upon her family.

But he said the sentence was structured to be as fair as possible to the accused, punishing her for offending and encouraging her rehabilitation for mental health issues and drug use.

Judge Johnson said the thorough investigation undertaken by gardaí in the apprehension and prosecution of Henry went a long way to restoring the force's reputation and undoing the damage caused by the criminality of the accused.

He said the public could be assured that gardaí would not be found wanting when it came to investigating and pursuing prosecution of criminality against a member of the force.

Henry arrived in court with members of her family including her father, Kevin, a retired detective based in Sligo, who was described in court as a highly regarded member of the community with an impeccable record in the force.