17-year-old appears in court in relation to alleged shooting incident in Athlone

A 17 year-old youth has appeared in Longford District Court charged in relation to an alleged shooting incident in Athone Co. Westmeath last weekend.

The juvenile faces three charges in connection with the shooting at the Convent Grounds, Bower Hill in which a man sustained leg injuries.

Garda Kieran Dempsey told Longford court the teenager was formally charged shortly after 10pm last night at Athlone Garda Station in the presence of his mother and the youth made no reply to each of the alleged offences.

He was charged with unauthorised use of a Marlin pump action rifle, reckless discharge of a firearm and handling stolen property at Bower Hill, Athlone on November 18th.

The court was told that further charges may follow.

Garda Dempsey said that on the night in question a number of shots were fired following the alleged theft of a rifle from a parked car in the Convent Grounds.

The rifle together with ammunition were in the boot of a car being used for shooting by a contractor for the Department of Agriculture and four other cars in the vicinity were broken into on the same night.

Within minutes of the alleged theft a number of shots were fired which resulted in a man being injured.

When questioned by Judge Seamus Hughes, Gardai Dempsey said investigations were ongoing and he couldn't say if the alleged incident "was stupidity or intentional."

The teenager was granted bail on an independent surety of €2,000 and a number of conditions including that he sign on three times a week at Athlone garda station and not associate with named individuals.

He also has to observe a 9pm to 6am curfew, not interfere with witnesses and supply a mobile phone number to Gardai on which he can be contactable 24 hours a day.

He is due to appear back in court on February 7 next.

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