Source: Leah Farrell
A PENSIONER FARMER prevented three armed plain-clothes members of a Garda drugs unit from gaining access to his home because he thought they were “thugs in hoodies”.
At Ennis District Court, 67-year old, Martin Danaher said that the gardai “looked like three thugs” and that they were looking for his son at Snipe Lodge, Knockagulla, Lisdoonvarna in August 2014.
Danaher said that two of the men were wearing hoodies with the third wearing a t-shirt when they called to his door.
Danaher said that he did not believe that the men – who arrived at the home in an unmarked black Ford Mondeo - were gardaí.
He said that Garda ID was shown “but this was at a distance”.
The actions of Danaher in refusing entry to carry out a search of the home formed part of the basis of gardaí refusing to renew the man’s gun licence this year.
However, Danaher is to get his gun back after Judge Patrick Duran upheld his appeal against the decision to revoke his shot-gun licence.
Judge Durcan said that he was sufficiently impressed about the doubts that Danaher might have had in his mind concerning the incident when the gardaí called to his home.
He said: “I know as someone who lives in the countryside myself, there is a need for people in the countryside to have a firearm, particularly for farmers, there is a need to have vermin controlled.”
Danaher said that he used the gun to control vermin and shoot wild dogs who attack sheep.
In evidence, Det Garda Trevor Shannon said that Danaher “told us we would not be entering his house” on 22 August 2014.
Det Shannon said that Danaher said that by “no ways or means would we be entering his residence”.
Det Shannon told the court that Danaher said that if gardaí wished to enter the house “you will have to put me down”.
He said: “It was said in a threatening manner and due to lack of assistance and location and the force I believe that would have been required, I made a decision not to execute the warrant and we returned to the garda station.
He said: “It was a very tense situation and at any time could have blown up. It was very volatile.”
Det Shannon said that he was there to execute a search warrant concerning a third party living at the house.
Danaher voluntarily handed over his gun to gardaí in January 2015.
This followed a separate incident at Danaher’s home that was investigated by Gardai but where the DPP recommended no prosecution.
Supt John Galvin said that the incident involved Danaher being trapped in a container which caught fire. He said that there was no allegation that Danaher used the gun or threatened to use it on any occasion. Supt Galvin said that he made the decision to revoke the licence as a result of public safety concerns.