Father and son remanded in custody after shots fired at gardaí

'I have good respect for the guards. They have looked after me the last three or four years. When the gun went off, I didn’t see anyone in the hallway,' says accused
Father and son remanded in custody after shots fired at gardaí

Peter Keenan at Cork District Court last week. File picture: Cork Courts

A father and son charged in connection with the firing of a shot at gardaí who were about to search a house in Cork last week have appeared in court by video link from prison.

Sergeant John Kelleher said directions in the cases were awaited from the DPP.

Sgt Kelleher applied to have the two accused remanded in custody for a fortnight to allow time for the DPP directions.

Defence solicitor Shane Collins-Daly said at Cork District Court that he had spoken to the two defendants by phone prior to the court appearance and they understood what the prosecution application would be.

Judge Olann Kelleher remanded them in continuing custody until May 20.

Mr Collins-Daly said that the father and son would be appealing for bail at the High Court. 

Judge Kelleher told them that if they were released on bail, they were obliged to show up in person at Cork District Court in a fortnight.

James Keenan, aged 54, and his son, Peter Keenan, aged 26, appeared in court following an incident in which a shot was fired at members of the Cork Armed Support Unit.

James Keenan is charged with three offences, namely possession of an improvised firearm — a shotgun — possession of ammunition, and reckless discharge of a firearm. 

The charges all relate to his home at Island View, Rochestown Rd, Cork, on Thursday, April 29.

Peter Keenan, of the same address, is charged with the same first two offences of possession of an improvised firearm and possession of ammunition at the same location on the same evening.

Detective Garda Tom Delaney said James Keenan replied to the charges: “I am very, very sorry." 

I didn’t mean to hurt anyone or anything — I am just trying to protect my family from the McDonaghs. 

"I have good respect for the guards. They have looked after me the last three or four years. When the gun went off, I didn’t see anyone in the hallway. My sitting room door was closed.” 

Detective Garda Ronan McGuckin said Peter Keenan made no reply to either charge when they were put to him.

Both officers testified that gardaí had received confidential information that the Keenans had firearms at the house as they were involved in an escalating feud with another family so gardaí went to carry out a search of the house.

Det Garda Delaney said that gardaí would allege that members of the Armed Support Unit were preparing to enter the Keenan house at Island View, Rochestown Rd, when a shot was fired at them.

“It is alleged that as the Armed Support Unit were at the entrance to the property, James Keenan discharged an improvised firearm at gardaí. James Keenan was subsequently secured and brought from the house,” he said.

Det Garda McGuckin said the State would allege that Peter Keenan was caught with an improvised shotgun in the hallway/kitchen area of the house but that he surrendered it when challenged by the Armed Support Unit.

Both officers testified that gardaí found some 20 rounds of ammunition, 23 petrol bombs, as well as a series of hand weapons which gardaí believe was evidence of the escalating nature of the feud with the other family.

James Keenan denied deliberately firing the gun at gardaí and told them that he fired it to frighten off other people whom he thought were attacking his house.

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