herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Grandfather caught with shotgun 'was in row over drugs cash'

Donal ‘Doogles’ O’Hara (51)
Donal ‘Doogles’ O’Hara (51)

This the moment a drug-dealing grandfather was arrested after gardai found a sawn-off shotgun hidden in his back garden.

Donal 'Doogles' O'Hara (51) was jailed for six years yesterday after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm.

He will now join his son, Donal 'DJ' O'Hara, behind bars.

Last October, O'Hara Jnr was one of seven men sentenced to a total of 105 years in prison for a horrific and violent home intrusion in Burnchurch, south Tipperary, in November 2013.

'Doogles' O'Hara had also been caught growing cannabis plants in a master bedroom of his home a year earlier and was on bail for that offence when gardai discovered the firearm.

He told gardai that people were trying to kill him and he was "at the end of his tether".

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard shots had been fired at O'Hara's home just days before the shotgun, which was in poor condition, was found.

Dispute

Gardai arresting Donal O’Hara during the raid on his home
Gardai arresting Donal O’Hara during the raid on his home

The Herald can reveal that O'Hara Snr was involved in a dispute over drug money with an associate of a North Dublin crime boss, known as 'Mr Big'.

It is believed that the gangster had fallen out with O'Hara after he claimed he was charged too much for a drugs deal.

O'Hara, of Glin Park, Coolock, Dublin, pleaded guilty to cultivation of cannabis at his home on February 11, 2015. He also pleaded guilty to possession of a 12-gauge, single-barrel sawn-off shotgun and shotgun cartridges at his home on June 22, 2016.

Judge Patricia Ryan noted that there were unusual circumstances and that O'Hara had the firearm for his own defence "to ward off persons who may endanger him or his family".

She noted that there had been shots fired at the house and one member of the family had a gun put to his head.

The judge imposed four years with one suspended for the drugs offences. She also imposed a consecutive sentence of seven years, with the final four years suspended, for the firearms offences, giving a total jail term of six years.

Garda Joe McBride told Noel Devitt, prosecuting, that gardai acting on confidential information searched O'Hara's home on February 11, 2015, and found 72 cannabis plants in a bedroom. O'Hara said he was growing the plants for his own use.

Garda Alan Roche said that on June 22, 2016, gardai again acting on confidential information searched the home and found a sawn-off shotgun and cartridges inside a bag in a trailer at the rear of the house.

O'Hara told gardai that people were trying to kill him.

"This has to come to an end one day, they will put me in a box," he said.

O'Hara's barrister said "background events" had brought attention on his client and he was "at the end of his tether" when he had the gun.

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