Limerick man jailed for possession of 'significant' amount of ammo

Sentence handed down at the Special Criminal Court
Sentence handed down at the Special Criminal Court

A Limerick man who pleaded guilty to possessing ammunition has been jailed by the Special Criminal Court for three years.

Gardai found ammunition in a flat the man shared with his former partner after a tip-off from the woman following a domestic dispute. 

John Costello (60) of Glenashrone, Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick, pleaded guilty in December at the three-judge, non-jury court to the possession of 450 rounds of .38 special calibre ammunition and 329 rounds of 9mm calibre ammunition at the flat above the Coffee Pot, Abbeyfeale on February 21st, 2016.

He also admitted to the possession of three rounds of 9mm calibre ammunition at his home address on February 22nd, 2016.

At today's brief sentence hearing, presiding judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt said that although the ammunition was not accompanied by a firearm, the court was of the view that the "total amount of ammunition must be regarded as significant".

The court has previously heard evidence from Detective Garda Michael Herlihy that in February last year Costello was in a relationship, and after a domestic dispute his partner called the gardai, telling them there was ammunition in their flat. 

After finding the ammunition, the gardai obtained a search warrant and found more ammunition in Costello's apartment in Glenashrone. 

Det Gda Herlihy then telephoned Costello, who later presented himself to the garda station. 

During interviews he admitted he was responsible for the ammunition but did not say where or who it had come from.

The detective said that gardai were satisfied his possession of the ammunition was in the context of subversive IRA activity. 

Mitigating factors in sentencing, Mr Justice Hunt said, were Costello's co-operation with gardai, his early admissions and plea of guilty.

He also has no previous convictions.

The judge added that there may have been evidential difficulties if the case had proceeded to trial.

Costello was sentenced to three years for the first offence and nine months, to run concurrently, for the second.

The sentences were backdated to November 3rd last year.