GARDAÍ objected to a firearms certificate being renewed for a man who had one self-harming incident five years ago but his doctor said that recreational shooting was one of the things that helped the man.
Judge Olann Kelleher decided to allow the appeal made by 37-year-old Gary Healy for his firearms certificate at Cork District Court and he granted him the certificate.
Solicitor Eugene Murphy appealed the refusal of the certificate by Superintendent Colm O’Sullivan. Judge Kelleher had adjourned consideration of the matter to hear from the appellant’s doctor George O’Mahony.
Dr O’Mahony said he was aware of an incident in 2016 when Mr Healy of 71 Churchfield Ave, Cork, was treated at Mercy University Hospital for a wrist injury following a self-harming incident.
Dr O’Mahony said the accused had been very well since this occurred. The doctor confirmed, when questioned by Mr Murphy, that Mr Healy’s mental health is normal, that he likes to relax by shooting and hunting and that this is actually one of the things that got him back to being in good mental health.
Judge Kelleher said he took it from the doctor’s evidence that Mr Healy was a fit person to hold a firearms licence.
Sergeant Gearóid Davis asked the doctor one question: “Can you say there won’t be a recurrence?” Before the doctor could answer, Judge Kelleher said that could not be confirmed into the future in respect of any person, even without any previous issue.
Supt O’Sullivan said he refused the initial licence application.
“No reflection on the applicant — good, bad, or indifferent — but I cannot guarantee a second episode would not have more serious consequences,” said Supt O’Sullivan.
Mr Murphy said: “That guarantee cannot be given with anyone even where they had no mental health difficulty in the past.”
Judge Kelleher concluded that Dr O’Mahony’s view was that Mr Healy’s mental health is fine and he would certify him as a fit person to hold a firearms licence.
“He had an unfortunate episode once and he is over it. If that is the only objection I grant the appeal,” said Judge Kelleher.