Ex-Lord Mayor's grandson jailed for TNT and grenade
Two men, one the grandson of former Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke, have been jailed for seven years each after they were caught with 4kg of TNT and a hand grenade in a busy area of Dublin.
The non-jury Special Criminal Court heard the Army Bomb Disposal Unit was called and 40 premises evacuated at the time.
Mairtin Manning (24), the grandson of Mr Burke, and Declan McDermott (30) were yesterday jailed for a total of 14 years. The two Dublin men pleaded guilty after they were caught with the explosives in a shoebox, found in the passenger footwell of a taxi.
Mr Burke sat in court with the men's families and supporters for the sentencing.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt said one of the 10 400-gram blocks of TNT was sufficient to make an under-car bomb and therefore the quantity was "very considerable".
Manning and McDermott had acted as couriers and played an important role, said the judge. They were also trusted by the organisers of these activities, he added.
The two, whose addresses were not given, pleaded guilty last month to knowingly possessing an explosive substance - 10 blocks of TNT and the explosive head of an RGD33 hand grenade - in Spring Garden Street, Dublin 3, on June 2, 2017.
A third man, John O'Brien (56), of North Great Clarence Street, Dublin 1, also admitted knowingly rendering assistance to an unlawful organisation.
He was jailed for one year and six months.
Mr Justice Hunt said that due to the timely intervention by gardai, no harm had resulted.
The judge said that "further processing" of the items would have been required and that "it cannot be said that any of the men would have had a further role in the processing".
The judge told the court the maximum sentence for the explosives offence was 14 years in prison and rendering assistance to an unlawful organisation was punishable by up to eight years.
Referring to Manning and McDermott, the main mitigating factors were their guilty pleas and the fact neither had previous criminal convictions, said the judge.
"Both men have positive employment and family history," he commented, adding that there was no basis to differentiate between the two defendants.
The judge said the court would reduce the headline sentence of nine years and six months and impose a sentence of seven years' imprisonment on each, backdated to April when they went into custody.
Referring to O'Brien, Mr Justice Hunt said he had assisted by agreeing to store a "very significant" amount of explosive material. He had a difficult personal life as well as a number of illnesses, he said.
The headline sentence in O'Brien's case was three years in prison.