Father and son in court over seizure of illegal sawn-off shotgun in Mullingar

Father And Son In Court Over Seizure Of Illegal Sawn-Off Shotgun In Mullingar
Gardaí charged the pair with possessing an illegal sawn-off pump action shotgun and ammunition in connection with a feud in Mullingar
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Tom Tuite

A father and son have each been held on €21,000 bail after gardaí charged them with possessing an illegal sawn-off pump action shotgun and ammunition in connection with a feud in Mullingar.

John Joe Nevin (54), of Columb Drive, and David Nevin (32), the Cedars, Lakepoint, in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, were charged with offences under the Firearms Act for unlawful possession of the weapon and five cartridges on August 9th at Columb Drive.


John Joe Nevin has three additional related charges for dangerous driving at Ashe Road, Columb Drive and Cathedral View in the town during the same incident.

They were held under the Offences Against the State Act and charged on Thursday evening before being brought to appear before Judge Patricia Cronin at a special sitting of Mullingar District Court.

Evidence of arrest, charge and caution was given by Detective Inspector Tom Quinn and Detective Sergeant Adrian Regan.

They told the court the pair “made no reply” when charged.


Judge Cronin noted there were objections to bail based on the seriousness of the case and that it was connected to an “ongoing feud between members of the Travelling community”.

“There are firearms actively in play in the town, connected to the feud,” Detective Sergeant Regan said, and he feared it could escalate.

Fleadh crowds

The contested bail hearing was told that the seizure happened in an area where crowds were heading to Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann events in the town.

Detective Sergeant Regan said John Joe Nevin’s car was driven in an evasive manner and failed to stop for gardai.


It was alleged David Nevin, a father of three, had been in the car but “attempted to flee and discarded the sawn-off pump action shotgun and five cartridges”, wrapped in two plastic bags, "but it was obvious it was a firearm that he was carrying”.

He also said neither father nor son was in possession of a firearms licence.

Cross-examined by defence solicitor Aonghus McCarthy, he accepted that John Joe Nevin, who allegedly drove the car, was not seen in possession of the weapon. CCTV footage has not been obtained yet.

The Garda witness accepted both men lived all their lives and had families in the town. Mr McCarthy pleaded with the judge to set bail with terms and said his clients would obey any conditions set down by the court.


Bail terms

Judge Cronin held there was insufficient evidence for a refusal of bail, but recognising the seriousness of the charges, she said they would require “substantial” sureties.

She set the same bail for father and son: in their own bonds of €1,000 of which €250 must be lodged by both, and the court must approve sureties in the sum of €20,000 with €10,000 of that to be lodged in each case.

She told them that once the bail terms have been met, they must reside at addresses outside Mullingar which also have to be approved by gardai, sign on daily at the local garda station, obey curfews, provide gardai with mobile phone numbers and be contactable at all times, surrender their passports and not apply for duplicate travel documents, and “stay out of Mullingar save for court appearances”.

Judge Cronin remanded them in custody with consent to bail pending their next hearing on August 17 at Longford District Court. The investigating gardaí are to seek directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions in the case.


Neither the father nor his son addressed the court and spoke only to consult with their solicitor. Noting the seriousness of the charges and that each defendant was in receipt of social welfare, Judge Cronin granted them legal aid.

They have yet to indicate how they will plead, and the court heard the firearms charge can attract a maximum 14-year sentence.

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