FRESH charges have been brought against four men for having an improvised shotgun and 23 petrol-bombs at a house in Cork in connection with the alleged firing of a shot at gardaí who were about to search the premises.
Garda Tom Delaney and Detective Garda Bríd Norris gave evidence of the charges and said that books of evidence were now being prepared in the cases.
54-year-old James Keenan of Island View, Rochestown Road, Cork, made lengthy replies to the new charges which were noted and given in evidence.
Charged with possession of a firearm – an improvised shotgun - to endanger life, the 54-year-old said, “Our life was threatened by the McDonagh family. That is why I had them – for myself and my family’s protection.”
In respect of a charge of ammunition, namely shotgun cartridges, to endanger life He replied, “I was told they were blanks.”
To the charge of having 23 petrol bombs, he said, “That was for myself and my family’s protection as well. They were threatening to come down to my house and kick in my own door, stab me in my own house and cut up my family.
In response to the charge of possession of a firearm, he said, “Over the McDonagh’s threatening to kill me and cut up my sons and wife.”
Finally, in respect of the charge of assault causing harm Garda Emma Henebery, he said, “I seen no guards. I thought it was the McDonagh family coming in on top of me and my family. I thought the firearm yoke was blank. It was in the door I shot. With the noise of the bang I thought it would frighten the McDonagh’s away until I called the guards.”
Sergeant John Kelleher said directions had been given for books of evidence to be prepared in this case and in the cases against three other defendants.
All four were remanded on bail until February 24.
26-year-old Peter Keenan, Island View, Rochestown Road, Cork, John Keenan, who is 25, of Perron Inn Glengarriff, County Cork, and 19-year-old Michael James Keenan of 1 Island View, Rochestown, Cork, were all charged with possession of the improvised shotgun and cartridges and 23 petrol bombs on the same date.
The defendants were represented on free legal aid by defence solicitor Shane Collins-Daly at Cork District Court.
The case relates to an incident in which a shot was allegedly fired at members of the Cork Armed Support Unit.
James Keenan replied to an earlier charge brought him arising of this case last year, “I didn’t mean to hurt anyone or anything – I am just trying to protect my family from the McDonaghs. I have good respect for the guards. They have looked after me the last three or four years. When the gun went off, I didn’t see anyone in the hallway. My sitting room door was closed.”
Det Garda Delaney said that gardaí would allege that members of the Armed Support Unit were preparing to enter the Keenan house at Island View, Rochestown Road when a shot was fired at them.
“It is alleged that as the Armed Support Unit were at the entrance to the property, James Keenan discharged an improvised firearm at gardaí. James Keenan was subsequently secured and brought from the house,” he said.