Nurse who hid drugs in his mouth during Garda raid faces probe
A nurse shoved 10 bags of crystal meth into his mouth which he then tried to swallow during a garda raid on an apartment in south Dublin.
John de Lara worked with vulnerable, elderly patients at the Royal Hospital Donnybrook in Dublin from December 2003 to November 2014.
The Royal Hospital is an independent charity funded by the HSE.
During criminal proceedings last year, Mr de Lara was given the Probation Act after pleading guilty at Dublin District Court to possession of crystal methamphetamine.
The 45-year-old Filipino from Ballyfermot, Dublin, also admitted putting crystal methamphetamine in his mouth, and obstructing gardai under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
He appeared before a Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland fitness-to-practice hearing yesterday, facing allegations of professional misconduct and non-compliance with the code of professional conduct.
In March 2014, gardai searched a basement flat on Marlborough Road in Donnybrook, Dublin 4.
During the search, Mr de Lara removed a plastic bag from a pocket inside his jacket, which contained 10 "smaller packets" of 2.4 grams of crystal meth, and shoved it into his mouth, the hearing was told.
Garda Eoghan Byrne "shouted at him" to spit it out, which he did. Garda Byrne told the inquiry the drugs had an estimated value of €144.
While being questioned at Donnybrook Garda Station, Mr de Lara said had taken crystal meth in the Philippines while in college.
When asked how much he spent on drugs each week, he said €100 a month. However, he insisted he was not an addict.
The inquiry heard that hospital management first learned of the incident from media reports of court proceedings in July 2014.
Mr de Lara was subsequently suspended from work with pay, pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings.
It is alleged he failed to notify the hospital that he was the subject of a garda investigation.
The inquiry also heard Mr de Lara ordered Sudafed, a nasal decongestant, from the hospital pharmacy in May 2013 under the names of colleagues.
The married father-of-four knew or ought to have know this was not appropriate, the hearing was told.
The inquiry will resume on February 16.