A Dublin man was jailed for four years at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin today for having guns and ammunition in south Dublin last year.
Stephen Verhoeven (aged 23), Brookfield Terrace, Blackrock, Co Dublin pleaded guilty in July to the unlawful possession of two M.E. .38 Compact G revolvers and 20 rounds of .38 inch M.E. Gum ammunition, at the Topaz garage, Tallaght bypass, Tallaght, Dublin on January 4, 2009.
Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, presiding, said that having regard to the gravity of the offences, the appropriate sentence was six years imprisonment. However the court suspended the final two years of the sentence.
Last July Detective Superintendent Diarmuid O' Sullivan, Special Detective Unit, told the court that gardaí set up a surveillance operation after receiving information that people connected with dissident republicans were moving firearms and ammunition from one location to another.
Verhoeven was observed arriving at The Ramparts apartments in Loughlinstown in a green Honda car and another man came out of the complex and both men were seen opening the boot of the car and putting items in.
Gardaí followed the car as it drove to the M50, took the Tallaght exit and stopped at the Topaz garage on the bypass.
Members of the Emergency Response Unit arrested Verhoeven and another man and the revolvers and ammunition were found in the boot of the car.
Verhoeven, when questioned by the gardaí, took responsibility for the guns and ammunition and said that he had been told to go to the Topaz garage where the items would be collected.
Cross-examined by Mr Brian Mc Cartney QC, for Verhoeven, the Detective Superintendent agreed that Verhoeven was not charged with membership of an illegal organisation and that he was "not an active republican".