Trinity graduate gets six years for firearm offences
A TRINITY College graduate and three men who were intercepted by armed gardai outside the premises of a firearms dealer have received sentences ranging from six to seven years for the possession of guns and ammunition.
Earlier this month, Ursula Shannon (30), who is a PhD student graduate of Trinity College and a prominent member of socialist republican group Eirigi, and her co-accused John McGreal (37) and Colin Brady (24) were found guilty of the offences by the Special Criminal Court after a short trial.
The non-jury court heard that the accused were wearing wigs and disguises when they were intercepted by armed gardai outside a residential premises in Co Offaly, which also doubled as a business for a licensed firearms seller.
Detective Inspector Michael Gibbons told the court that one of the handguns recovered, a Brazilian-made Taurus pistol, was used in a murder in Tallaght in February 2002. He said there was no suggestion that any of the defendants were involved in that offence.
There was also evidence that the ammunition recovered was wrapped up in a nappy found inside the stolen van in which the defendants were travelling.
CCTV footage of the interception of the stolen van was played to the court, which was invited to infer that the people in the van were there to rob the shop and steal the firearms on the premises.
Shannon, McGreal and Brady had pleaded not guilty to the possession of two handguns and 32 rounds of ammunition at Tullybeg, Rahan, Co Offaly on November 27, 2012, but had not challenged any of the evidence in the case. John Troy (34), a fourth co-accused, of Dunard Avenue, Cabra, had pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of the same handguns on the same date.
Shannon, who has an address at Inglewood Crescent, Clonsilla and Brady, of Ashgrove, Baskin Lane, Kinsealy, have no previous convictions but Troy was sentenced by the Special Criminal Court to four years for IRA membership in 2005. McGreal, of Thornchase, Palmer Road, Rush, has five previous convictions for summary offences.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Paul Butler said that in respect of Shannon, McGreal and Brady a sentence of seven years in prison was appropriate.
However, he said the court would allow a year for the fact they had not contested the evidence at trial, bringing the sentence to one of six years for each accused.
Judge Butler said a note from Troy, which states that upon his release from prison he is determined not to be before the Special Criminal Court or any court again, was a "significant matter" and said that on that basis the court would suspend the final two years of Troy's seven-year sentence if he entered a bond to be of good behaviour and keep the peace.