A father-of-five who fired shots in a residential area in broad daylight “when the red mist went down” has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Gardaí were alerted after residents heard the shots that were fired by Michael Hoolohan (42) at four youths as he was driving his van through a Dublin housing estate.
His defence barrister told the court that the gardaí accept that this was not a case of “a feud” nor was Hoolohan part of “a criminal gang”.
Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, said his client “overreacted in a way that was criminal” after he felt his son had been slighted by “some young fellas”.
Counsel said the “red mist went down” and his client’s reaction was “completely without justification” but submitted that Hoolohan “did so as a parent who was very stressed by the event”.
Hoolohan of Croftwood Green, Ballyfermot, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of a firearm and the reckless discharging of a firearm at Cedarbrook Walk, also in Ballyfermot on April 16th, 2020. He has 11 previous convictions all for road traffic and public order offences.
Judge Martin Nolan accepted that Hoolohan was “of the view that these four had mistreated his son and he discharged a few shots with the intention to frighten and terrify them”.
He said he was satisfied that Hoolohan had not intended to harm them but added that he had managed to acquire a handgun which “is somewhat sinister”.
Judge Nolan acknowledged that Hoolohan is “a good family man with responsibility” and has served his community but said he must impose a custodial sentence.
“It seems that this was not a feud but rather a dispute that sometimes occurs in neighbourhoods where parents react in a disproportionate manner,” Judge Nolan said before he jailed Hoolohan for three-and-a- half years.
Detective Sergeant Ronan McDermott told Karl Finnegan BL, prosecuting, that gardaí responded to two emergency calls in relation to the shooting and were informed that a Toyota Hiace van had been the source of the gun shots and that the van seemed to be driving after a number of youths.
A spent shell casing and two full rounds of ammunition were later recovered from the scene and sent in for technical examination.
Gardaí were later tipped off that Hoolohan may have been responsible and CCTV footage was gathered from the local area.
It was later established that the same vehicle on the footage was parked outside Hoolohan’s home, by the use of local CCTV cameras, and a warrant was secured to search the vehicle and the house.
The van was later examined and firearms residue was discovered within it allowing gardaí to link the vehicle to the shooting.
The following day Hoolohan presented himself at the garda station asking why his home was searched but “nothing came out” of the follow-up garda interviews with him, Det Sgt McDermott confirmed.
Gardaí identified the four youths involved and they were approached but none of them had any interest in making a complaint.
Det Sgt McDermott agreed with Mr O’Higgins that it represented “a moment of madness” for his client which he regrets “in the cold light of day”.
He accepted a suggestion from counsel that Hoolohan’s plea of guilty was of value to the State “as it could have been quite a messy case to prosecute”.
Mr O’Higgins handed in a number of references to the court. He said his client is a father-of-five and has been with his partner for 17 years.
He described him as “solid and otherwise reliable” and added that Hoolohan is someone who has invested in his community.
Mr O’Higgins asked Judge Nolan to accept that his client met the case “in a no nonsense way” and could not have met it “in a more fair way”.