Members of the Technical Bureau at the scene in Bluebell. Rollingnews
sinead connolly

Man accused of hiding gun used in Bluebell shooting

Paul Mooney was refused bail when he appeared before Dublin District Court today.

A MAN HAS been charged with impeding a garda investigation into a shooting that left a Dublin mother with “catastrophic” injuries.

Sinead Connolly, 30, was shot in the hallway of her second-floor flat at Bernard Curtis House, in Bluebell, in the south of the city, on Saturday afternoon.

Paul Mooney, 32, with an address in Dublin’s south inner city was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. He is also accused of acting to impede the apprehension or prosecution of a person, knowing or believing them to have committed an offence.

The father of three was refused bail when he appeared before Judge John Brennan at Dublin District Court today.

Garda Paul Carroll told Judge Brennan that Mooney made no reply to the charges. There was an objection to bail due the seriousness of the case.

He told a contested bail hearing that gardaí were called to the scene at 1.03pm and found Connolly had suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

She was rushed to St James’s Hospital where she was treated for catastrophic injuries and remained in a critical condition in intensive care, the court was told.

The court heard Valerie Mooney, the accused’s mother, gave a statement that her son was at her home on Saturday when he got a call and had to “fly up to the flats” but would be back in 20 minutes.

His sister Sarah Mooney told gardaí her brother was preparing wallpaper paste. She heard the caller say that someone had arrived and her brother said “oh s**t, is it that time already?” before he went out.

Another man, who had been in Sinead Connolly’s house, told gardaí they were in the kitchen when he heard banging at the front door. Her young daughter was also present.

The witness heard “two or three cracks, gunshots” and a shout, “that is a f**king gun”. They barricaded the door shut.

The witness told gardaí he thought a shot was fired through the kitchen door, the court was told.

Garda Carroll said CCTV footage showed Mooney walking up the stairwell with a phone in his hand. He was outside the apartment next door when two men left Connolly’s flat. One of them was injured and placed a firearm on the steps of the stairwell.

It was alleged Mooney was seen picking the gun up before walking down the stairwell.

Defence solicitor Emer O’Sullivan said the accused also gave the account of wallpapering at his mother’s house before getting a call. She told the court he innocently went there to pay someone €50.

The solicitor questioned the possibility of witness interference if bail were granted.
The court heard Mooney had known Connolly since childhood.

He told gardaí, “My heart goes out to her. I had nothing to do with this. I had no involvement, I had no prior knowledge.”

O’Sullivan said her client was asked by a garda: “Were you dragged into something you know nothing about?”.

Ms O’Sullivan pointed out that in the CCTV footage, her client was not covered up. She said he, “looked like he was in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

He had claimed one of the men dropped the gun on the stairs, and shouted at him: “Mooney, take care of that and I will call you later.”

The accused was very shocked, confused and threatened, the solicitor said.

He was a “family man” who lived and was well-known in the locality, she told the court.

Garda Carroll agreed that Mooney appeared “quite startled” and jumped back on the CCTV footage.

Mooney never said he was threatened, the garda also told bail hearing. It was alleged he told gardaí he did not recognise the men and one of them wore a cap and a facemask.

The accused had told gardaí he did not hear gunshots but heard a man say “let’s get the f**k out of here”.

Garda Carroll alleged that video evidence showed the accused pick up the firearm from the scene and put it in his pocket. He returned to his own home, wrapped it in two bags and disposed of it in a communal bin, Garda Carroll told the court.

The gun was found and there were “still two males outstanding,” the investigating garda said.

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

He ordered the media not to report his address, following an application by the defence.