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Pipe bomb driver jailed for 5 years

A man who was caught transporting a viable pipe bomb and ammunition for organised criminals has been jailed for five years.

Joseph Kelly (32) was stopped by members of the Special Detective Unit and Emergency Response Unit who were investigating organised criminal activities in Dublin city.

The army bomb disposal team was called out and the bomb was taken away to be defused.

Judge Desmond Hogan said he considered the pipe bomb offence to be the more serious, but accepted counsel's submissions that he was obliged to impose a five-year term on the possession of shotgun shells.

He sentenced Kelly to a concurrent sentence of seven years before he suspended the final two years and backdated it to October 2012.

Kelly of Kilworth Road, Drimnagh pleaded not guilty to possession of a pipe bomb and six shotgun shells at Ballyfermot Road, Dublin on July 18, 2011.

He was convicted by a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in April.


Defence counsel Justin McQuade said his client has a severe heroin addiction and had become involved in the operation to pay off a drug debt.

He said Kelly was not the mastermind of the operation and was being led by others.

Another man who was arrested with Kelly is not before the courts because the Supreme Court ruled that the warrant used by gardai was unconstitutional.

Kelly has 60 previous convictions and is currently serving two years for robbery.

Mr McQuade said that, since 1996, Kelly has only spent two years out of prison.

Detective Garda Jonathon O'Leary of the organised crime unit told prosecuting counsel Paul Carroll that he was part of a surveillance operation that saw Kelly being picked up from his home in a car, which then drove around the city.

Kelly was later seen driving a van in convoy with the vehicle.

In Ballyfermot the garda team received orders to pull the convoy over and the bomb and ammunition was found in a shopping bag.

The bomb disposal unit x-rayed the device before taking it to be disarmed. It was a viable bomb that could have caused serious injury.