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€200 drug debt sparked teen's murder plan

A DUBLIN man will be sentenced at the Central Criminal Court after being found guilty of attempting to murder another man over a €200 drug debt.

Michael Brennan (22) of Cromcastle Drive, Kilmore, Dublin 5, was a teenager when he and another carried out the organised shooting of James Egan.

A jury convicted Brennan in December on the attempted murder charge and of possession of a sawn-off shotgun and live shotgun cartridges, both with intent to endanger life.

Prosecution said that on Saturday night, April 29, 2006, Brennan and his now-deceased co-accused, Wesley Byrne, went to the victim's council flat in Coolock.

Mr Egan was expecting them over to cut up drugs. He answered the door when he heard Byrne's voice and was shot twice, in the stomach and thigh. He had said that he did not see who was at the door.

The gun was never recovered, there was no forensic evidence and Brennan was convicted on the evidence of people who were in Byrne's home that night and saw them with the gun.

Garda Paul Darley told the sentencing hearing that "from the initiation of the investigation there a constant threat of intimidation".

He said Brennan was living with his family and involved in car theft and anti-social behaviour when he shot Mr Egan.

The garda added that Mr Egan has since left his home for his own safety but is not under garda protection.

However gardai continue to monitor his movements when he attends a clinic in the Belcamp area.

Paul McDermott SC, defending, handed in a psychological assessment on his client, which said his extremely low ability meant he would have difficulty thinking through the consequences of his actions.

He was the second youngest of seven children from a separated family, and had spent only two weeks in secondary school, he added. He asked the judge to take into account his youth as well as his dysfunctional background.

Mr Justice Carney remanded Brennan in custody for sentencing on Monday next.