Limerick farmer in court for shooting rats with unlicensed gun

Judge Carol Ann Coolican.

A LIMERICK farmer who was using an air rifle to shoot vermin ended up in court being prosecuted for possession of a firearm because he didn’t realise the gun required a licence.

A judge was told that while the man before the court had purchased the gun in a shop in Limerick, the weapon can be freely bought on the internet.

Thomas Stack (44), of Clonee, Ballyagran, pleaded guilty to having the weapon without a licence on November 12, 2020, at Coolagowan, Castletown, Kilmallock.

Newcastle West District Court heard that Garda Patrick Cronin was in the area on that date making enquiries about an unrelated matter when he met with Mr Stack, who was in possession of the air rifle at the time.

The Garda asked him if he had a licence for the gun and he said he hadn’t.

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Inspector Gearoid Thompson told Judge Carol Ann Coolican that it was accepted that Mr Stack “didn’t have the gun for any nefarious purpose”.

The accused man’s solicitor told the court that his client had bought the gun over the counter in a shop in Limerick, adding “but you can buy these easily online. There are thousands if not hundreds of thousand of them in the country.”

He said his client was pleading guilty but was not aware a gun of this type needed a licence.

“He’s a farmer. He was shooting vermin,” he said.

Judge Coolican accepted the evidence and imposed the Probation Act, ordering disposal of the firearm.