Father of five jailed for possession of loaded revolver in Dublin

Vincent Maher pleads guilty to gun charge and two heroin charges

 Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

 

A father of five who was found in possession of a loaded revolver in a laneway beside a pub in Dublin has been jailed for seven years.

Vincent Maher (45) was arrested by gardaí following a targeted surveillance operation. He pleaded guilty to possession of a loaded Smith and Wesson revolver at Mountjoy Street on December 6th last.

Det Garda Declan O’Reilly told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court workmen found a plastic shopping bag containing a Smith & Wesson revolver, fully loaded with six bullets, wrapped in a black scarf.

Maher, of Cumberland Street, Dublin, had parked his car very close to the laneway where the gun was found but was initially arrested on a separate matter. However, while he was in custody, gardaí learned of the recovery of the firearm and questioned him about it. His DNA was later found on the butt of the revolver.

“He told gardaí­ that he had the gun for his own protection, as he and family members, including a child, were told their lives were under threat,” Garda O’Reilly said.

He said he accepted Maher’s assertion that his life was in danger but said no Garda Information Message – an official warning in relation to death threats – had been issued to Maher for “a couple of years, not since the outbreak of this feud”.

Maher also pleaded guilty to possession of heroin for personal use on November 22nd, 2015 and possession of heroin for sale or supply on March 15th, 2016.

All three offences were committed while he was serving a suspended sentence for the possession of €20,000 worth of heroin. Pieter Le Vert SC, defending, said Maher’s life has been “systematically destroyed” by heroin since he was a teenager. “He first became addicted to drugs at age 11,” he told the court.

Describing Maher as “a man of intelligence”, Judge Martin Nolan said the defendant’s actions merited a severe custodial sentence.

“However, I must give him credit for his early guilty plea and his co-operation with gardaí,” Judge Nolan said.

Maher was sentenced to seven years in prison – one year for possession of heroin for personal use, four years for possession of heroin worth €4,658 for sale or supply and six years for unlawful possession of a loaded firearm. The four-year sentence will run concurrently, meaning he received seven years in total.