Revolvers ‘ready to be used’ among arms found by gardaí, court told
Men found with firearms in Dublin business park to be sentenced at end of month
Gardaí went into a unit in a business park in Rathcoole, Co Dublin and found an arsenal of firearms and ammunition, the Special Criminal Court was told.
Gardaí found a secret compartment in a van containing an assortment of bullets on the same premises that an “arsenal” of guns ready for use was discovered, the Special Criminal Court heard on Thursday.
The unit on the Greenogue Industrial Estate, Co Dublin, where the garda raid took place had been fitted out in an “elaborate process” to make it look like the Irish division of a UK haulage company.
This had been done in the reception area for the benefit of anyone who might “call to the door” or “come to the wrong address”, the non-jury court was told.
However, inside the premises gardaí discovered guns and a large assortment of bullets.
Four of the 15 firearms found were laid out on cardboard in the loft and were “primed, armed and ready to be used”.
Five other firearms found had their serial numbers removed. Each of those guns had been put into their own small sealed, plastic bag with a box of 50 bullets to match each of the firearms.
An Ingram sub-machine gun and an AK47 were also found in the haul made up of nine revolvers, four pistols, the sub-machine-gun, an assault rifle and ten magazines.
“All the weapons were in excellent working order and ready for use,” said Det Insp Noel Browne, of the National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.
A total of 1,355 rounds of ammunition, two silencers, a forklift and three vehicles were seized with the guns.
The muzzles of two of the firearms had been modified to enable silencers to be screwed on.
Details of the find were outlined at the court where two men were before the court.
James Walsh, a 33-year-old father of two, Neilstown Drive, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, was arrested in the reception area of the premises.
He has previous convictions for public order, with fines of between €80 and €200 imposed on him five times between 2006 and 2009, the sentencing hearing was told.
He is engaged to be married and had never been to prison before being remanded in custody last January after the firearms and ammunition seizure.
His accomplice Jonathan Harding is a 45-year-old father of five and grandfather of four, “with two on the way”.
He has two previous convictions; for careless driving for which he was fined €500 in 2011 and he was also jailed for six years in 2004 for drug dealing.
From McNeill Court, Sallins, Co Kildare, had been observed on January 24th, 2017, driving from the unit to a nearby petrol station. He collected a man, referred to as Mr B in court, and they drove back to the unit.
They left a short time later to drive once more to the petrol station, leaving Walsh alone at the unit.
While Walsh was the only man on the premises at the time the Garda moved in, Harding’s DNA was found inside - on a plastic cup.
Walsh’s prints were also found - on copies of The Sun and The Star newspapers as well as on a cup.
Both men pleaded guilty to possession of firearms and ammunition. The court was told they were not the key people at the head of the criminal enterprise.
They have already served almost a year in prison having been in custody since their arrest last January.
Det Insp Browne said the Garda team had come into information that resulted in a unit at the industrial estate being placed under surveillance.
Walsh was in the reception area and arrested while Harding and Mr B were detained when gardaí moved in on their Transit van back at the petrol station.
A VW Passat was found on the Greenogue premises as well as a Ford Focus van. When the van was searched a “concealed compartment” was found with five lost rounds of assorted ammunition inside.
The case was adjourned for sentencing on January 24th.