A man who said he was under pressure to transport weapons in order to pay off his son’s drug debt has been jailed for three years and nine months.
Eugene Farrell (42) told gardaí he expected it to be drugs in the holdall and the “blood drained” from his body when he realised the bag contained guns.
He said he had been threatened that if he didn’t agree to transport the bag his son would be slashed.
Farrell said in a garda interview that he had moved drugs for the same people previously. He said his son had previously been beaten with weapons and the attack had been recorded.
Farrell of Moorefield Avenue, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of a revolver at Ardmore Court, Tallaght, on March 20th, 2020.
The revolver, while loaded, was covered in rust and in poor condition.
Further charges of possession of a Harrington and Richardson sawn off shotgun, a Mossberg sawn off shotgun, two Beretta shotguns and two separate hauls of ammunition were taken into consideration.
Three of the shotguns had been stolen during the course of earlier house burglaries.
Farrell has 21 previous convictions which, apart from one offence for possession of drugs, are all road traffic offences.
Judge Elma Sheahan noted from testimonials handed into court that the “intimidation and fear” the family experienced due to Farrell’s son drug debt “was truly terrifying” but she said Farrell still played “a crucial role that keeps the kingpins away from detection”.
She said Farrell was also “aware of the ruthlessness of these people given what they had shown them capable of previously” referring to the fact that Farrell’s son had been beaten, violence had previously been visited on his home and the family had been threatened.
Judge Sheahan accepted that Farrell had not benefited personally from the offence, had not used the weapons, that he was acting under duress and was being protective of his son.
She further accepted that he had demonstrated “genuine remorse” in a letter he had written to the court and that the son’s drug debt has since been paid.
Judge Sheahan sentenced Farrell to four and half years in prison, but suspended the final nine months on strict conditions including that he engage with the Probation Service for nine months upon his release from custody.
Garda Michael Brislane told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, that he was on mobile patrol on Ardmore Drive in Tallaght when he spotted a Peugeot being driven at speed. He followed the vehicle and saw two men running away from the car. He gave chase but they managed to get away.
Farrell, the driver, had remained in the car. He gave his correct name and address and a drug search was carried out on the vehicle. The weapons were found in a gym bag.
Gda Brislane said he accepted Farrell’s explanation for transporting the weapons in order to alleviate his son’s drug debt.
He agreed with Eoin Lawlor BL, defending, that Farrell co-operated with the garda investigation and provided them with an account of his movements that day.
Mr Lawlor said his client began using drugs at an early age, but when his eldest child turned 14 years old, he realised it was “time to clean up his act”.
His partner, the children’s mother was also an addict but she “didn’t follow the same path” and Farrell has taken care of the children by himself since, counsel told the court.
He said his client volunteers as a coach at his local football club and handed in a number of testimonials including one from his employer.