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Court appearance Bluebell shooting: Court hears mum was shot in front of daughter (7) as childhood pal is accused of disposing of gun

A man who was her childhood friend, Paul Mooney (32) has been accused of picking up the weapon left by a fleeing gunman and “carefully” disposing of it.

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Innocent Sinead Connolly was shot twice.

Innocent Sinead Connolly was shot twice.

Innocent Sinead Connolly was shot twice.

A YOUNG mother suffered “catastrophic injuries” when she was shot in front of her seven-year-old daughter after a gunman opened fire in her home, a court has heard.

Sinead Connolly (30) barricaded herself into her kitchen but was critically wounded when shots were fired through the door.

A man who was her childhood friend, Paul Mooney (32), has been accused of picking up the weapon left by a fleeing gunman and “carefully” disposing of it.

He was refused bail after Dublin District Court heard he maintained he had no prior knowledge of the shooting and had been “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Mr Mooney, with an address in the south inner city, is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. He is also charged with acting to impede the apprehension or prosecution of a person, knowing or believing them to have committed an arrestable offence.

Ms Connolly was shot twice in the chest and arm at her apartment at Bernard Curtis House in Bluebell, Dublin on Saturday, March 6. She remains in a critical condition in hospital.

Garda Paul Carroll told Judge John Brennan Mr Mooney made no reply to either count after caution at 12.10am today.

Objecting to bail, he said gardai were called to the scene at 1.03pm on Saturday and found Ms Connolly, who had sustained multiple gunshot wounds. She was removed to St James’s Hospital where she was treated in the intensive care unit for "catastrophic injuries."

In excerpts from witness statements, he said the accused’s mother, Valerie Mooney had said her son was at her home on Saturday when he got a call and said he had to “fly up to the flats” and would be back in 20 minutes.

The accused’s sister Sarah Mooney told gardai her brother was wallpapering when someone rang him and she heard the caller say someone had arrived and the accused said “oh s**t, is it that time already?” before leaving.

A man who was in Sinead Connolly’s house stated they were in the kitchen when he heard banging at the front door. It sounded like it got kicked and he said it did not sound like anything to worry about. Sinead always left her door open, he said.

He then heard “two or three cracks - gunshots” and someone shouted “that is a f**king gun”. They slammed the door shut and barricaded it. Ms Connolly’s little girl was also in the kitchen at the time.

“I think a shot was fired through the kitchen door, a piece of the door came down on top of me,” the man said.

Gda Carroll said CCTV footage showed Mr Mooney walking up the stairwell with a phone in his hand. He was outside another apartment when two men left Ms Connolly’s flat and walked down the stairwell. One was nursing an injury and placed a firearm on the steps.

Mr Mooney was seen picking it up before walking down the stairwell.

Gda Carroll said Ms Connolly, who remained in hospital, was a potential witness.

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Emer O’Sullivan said the accused gave an account of wallpapering at his mother’s house before getting a call to go to the flats. He “innocently” went there to pay someone €50.

Ms O'Sullivan did not accept there was any possibility of interference with a witness if the accused was granted bail.

In interview, Mr Mooney said he had known Ms Connolly for years and “my heart goes out to her. I had nothing to do with this. I had no involvement, I had no prior knowledge.”

Ms O’Sullivan said the garda interviewer had asked: “Were you dragged into something you know nothing about?” and told Mr Mooney: “I know you had no prior knowledge.”

Ms O’Sullivan said on the CCTV, her client was not covered and “looked like he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

He had no knowledge that she or anybody had been shot at the time, Ms O’Sullivan said.

His account was that one of the gunmen dropped the gun on the stairs, and shouted back “Mooney, take care of that and I will call you later.”

The accused was “very shocked and confused” at that stage and was threatened, she said.

Gda Carroll accepted Mr Mooney appeared “quite startled” and jumped back on the CCTV. Mr Mooney never said he was threatened, the garda said. The accused said did not recognise the men and did not hear the gunshots but had heard a man say “let’s get the f**k out of here.”

Gda Carroll said CCTV showed the accused pick up the firearm from the scene and conceal it in his pocket. He returned to his own home, wrapped it in two bags and “carefully” disposed of it in a communal bin area, Gda Carroll said.

The gun had since been recovered and there were “still two males outstanding,” the garda said.

Ms O’Sullivan said the accused was a “family man” who lived in the area and was well-known.

“Sadly, these people have been friends since childhood, he has known Sinead Connolly from 10 years of age,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

She did not think there was any suggestion that Mr Mooney would visit Ms Connolly in hospital and interfere with her as a witness.

Judge Brennan refused bail and remanded the accused in custody to appear in Cloverhill District Court on March 16.

At the request of the defence, the judge ordered that Mr Mooney's address is not to be published.

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