Limerick man granted bail after claims he was stockpiling weapons

Limerick District Court

A MAN who Gardaí alleged was stockpiling weaponry in his Limerick City home was granted bail on charges of possessing an improvised firearm and a single round of ammunition.

Gardaí searching Michael O’Callaghan’s home at Distillery View in Thomondgate last Sunday found an assortment of suspicious items, Limerick District Court heard.

Garda Aoife Keane said they found a machete, an improvised handgun, a round of ammunition, a bullet proof vest, two air rifles, a small quantity of suspected cocaine, drug paraphernalia, and a jar containing 6mm calibre pellets for use in an air rifle.

Some of the items were under a bed in Mr O’Callaghan’s bedroom.

A .22 calibre RimFire improvised handgun and a single round of .22 calibre ammunition were found in a jacket hanging on a stairway inside the house, which was occupied by two children at the time.

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Mr O’Callaghan is charged with possession of the .22 calibre improvised gun and .22 calibre round of ammunition in suspicious circumstances.

Garda Keane said that, following his arrest, he said he had amassed a significant drug debt to unidentified people and that he was facing a threat to his life.

She added that he said he was willing to use the improvised firearm to protect himself and his family.

Gardaí believed he was stockpiling weaponry and that this posed a danger to the local community.

Garda Keane objected to bail because of the nature and seriousness of the offences and that it was her belief that, if granted bail, Mr O’Callaghan would commit serious offences.

She said the improvised gun was a viable firearm.

However it failed to fire when it was tested by a Garda Ballistics officer because a missing spring.

She agreed with Mr O’Callaghan’s solicitor, John Herbert, that the items seized by Gardaí were all found within the confines of the house and there was no evidence that they were produced outside of the house.

“There is no evidence that he was ever going to embark on a spree outside of the house,” Mr Herbert told the court.

At one point in the proceedings, Judge Patricia Harney shouted at Mr O’Callaghan as he slouched forward on a bench where he was sitting, “you don’t need to lie down. Sit up. Have you any cop-on at all?”

Granting bail, she said he would have to abide by a number of terms, including that he continue to reside at his family home, obey a nightly curfew, surrender his passport and not apply for any travel documents, commit no offences and be of good behaviour, and be available to Gardaí 24 hours a day by mobile phone.

She warned Mr O’Callaghan that if he failed to answer his phone to Gardaí, this would be considered a breach of his bail terms and he would be taken into custody.

He was remanded on bail to appear before Limerick District Court on April 19.