excellence award | 

Hero garda who tackled machine gun-toting gangster Derek 'Bottler' Devoy honoured

Devoy fired shots from the weapon before ending up in a bathtub with three unarmed gardaí as they struggled to arrest him while a primed hand grenade rolled on to the floor

Derek ‘Bottler’ Devoy

Ken Foy

A hero garda who tackled gangland criminal Derek 'Bottler' Devoy (39) has been honoured with an excellence award at the AGSI conference in Killarney, Co Kerry.

‘Bottler’ Devoy is currently serving 15 years after he "ran amok" with a loaded machine gun near his home in Ballymun, north Dublin.

The Special Criminal Court heard Devoy fired shots from the weapon before ending up in a bathtub with three unarmed gardaí as they struggled to arrest him while a primed hand grenade rolled on to the floor.

Devoy has been in custody since his arrest at Cranogue Road, Ballymun, north Dublin, on the afternoon of March 11, 2019

Hero sergeant Andrew O’Connor, who was unarmed, arrested Devoy along with two other officers after he wandered Ballymun’s streets in a drug-crazed state armed with a 9mm Makarov PM63 sub-machine gun and a ­grenade in broad daylight on March 11, 2019.

He was honoured with an excellence award at a presentation at the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) annual conference yesterday.

Speaking afterwards, Sgt O’Connor, who is still haunted by the terrifying incident, said: “There’s no doubt about it, there’s not a day that goes past that it wouldn’t cross my mind.

“I’ve engaged with the Garda Welfare Services who have provided excellent support.

“I have over 20 years experience in the job from all aspects of it and I’ve done jobs overseas but it’s not your usual day's work no matter what way you look at it.

“And luckily it’s not something that happens very often in this country.”

He continued: “You expect to go home at the end of your tour of duty, that’s what we all do when we go out to work. It’s only a job at the end of the day so to come across something like that - there was a number of rounds fired very close to me and nearly struck Garda Niall Minnock in the head because he was directly behind me.

“It’s something that would make you think quite often about your safety out and about while working even with the experience we had between the three of us … working in gangland environments.”

Derek Devoy

Sentencing Derek Devoy at the three-judge court, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said Devoy had "effectively ran amok in a densely populated suburban area" in the middle of the afternoon "by brandishing and using two lethal items", a loaded semi-automatic machine gun and a hand grenade.

The judge said what Devoy did was an "appalling" act which was "dangerous beyond belief" and the notorious criminal was "inches away" from killing three gardaí.

Devoy, of Balbutcher Lane, Poppintree, Ballymun, previously admitted possessing a 9mm Makarov PM63 RAK submachine gun with intent to endanger life and in suspicious circumstances at

Cranogue Road, Ballymun, Dublin 11, on March 11, 2019.

The convicted criminal had also pleaded guilty to two charges under Section 19 of the Public Order Act for assaulting Garda Conor Garland and Garda Sergeant Andrew O'Connor in the execution of their duty at Cranogue Road on the same date.

Devoy had further pleaded guilty to possessing an explosive substance, a Yugoslavian M75 hand grenade, with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to a property at Cranogue Road on the same occasion.

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