A former alcoholic who stored two guns for an illegal organisation was jailed for three and a half years by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin today.
Owen Clail (aged 39), a father of two, of Stanhope St, Dublin 7 pleaded guilty last March to the unlawful possession of a Glock semi automatic pistol , a .38 inch revolver and twelve rounds of ammunition at his apartment at Stanhope St on October 2, 2007.
Detective Superintendent Diarmuid O'Sullivan, of the Special Detective Unit, told the court that detectives who raided Clail’s bedsit found the guns and ammunition in a bag.
He said they also found balaclavas, gloves, cables ties, a sledgehammer and three suspected improvised explosive devices. When these were examined by an Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team they were found to be hoax devices.
Detectives also found Army style clothing and new tracksuits and hooded tops. When interviewed by gardaí Clail at first denied any knowledge of the items, but later said he had been approached by a man in a pub on the northside of Dublin and asked to ``mind’’ two bags for €50 or €60.
Clail said that because of the drink he could not identify the man who approached him.
The Detective Superintendent said that Clail had ten previous convictions , including one in 1990 for possession of an imitation firearm and larceny.
He agreed with defence counsel Mr John Phelan SC that Clail "has a problem with drink" and that since he has been on remand in prison he has improved.
The Detective Superintendent said that Clail was holding the items for an unlawful organisation for a specific operation that organisation was going to carry out.
In evidence Clail said that he has had a drink problem ``virtually all my life’’ and since he has been in custody he has been sober.
Sentencing Clail, Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding, said that the court regarded possession of firearms as "a most serious offence."
He said the court sentenced Clail to five years imprisonment but suspended the final eighteen months of the sentence on condition that Clail abstained from alcohol.