herald

Sunday 20 October 2019

Thug jailed over major firearms haul has links to feud boss 'Mr Big'

Priorswood Road, where gardai seized the firearms last year
Priorswood Road, where gardai seized the firearms last year

A man jailed over a major firearms seizure in Dublin has links to the mob boss known as 'Mr Big', the Herald can reveal.

Kenneth O'Reilly (28) was this week jailed for seven-and-a-half years after being convicted of having a loaded machine gun and four other weapons.

The guns were found after O'Reilly fled from gardai during a car chase, and heavily armed officers later raided his home.

Originally from Bunratty Road, Coolock, he had denied the charge.

O'Reilly is well-known to gardai and also has links to the Dublin mob boss known as 'Mr Big'.

Gardai believe the weapons were to be used in an ongoing feud between 'Mr Big' and a north Dublin hitman and that they were being transported when they were seized.

Weapons

The gangland shooter, who is aged in his 30s, is a suspect in up to six gun attacks, including the murder of 'Mr Big' associate Ken Finn last February.

"It was a major capture for gardai, with loaded firearms taken away from major criminals clearly intent on using them," a senior source told the Herald.

While detectives do not believe that a hit was imminent when the weapons were recovered, four of the items were loaded and ready for use.

O'Reilly was convicted after a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of possession of the firearms and ammunition, endangerment and four charges of dangerous driving at Priorswood Road, Priorswood, Dublin, on April 3, 2018.

Judge Karen O'Connor sentenced him to eight-and-a-half years' imprisonment for possession of the firearms and ammunition, but suspended the final 12 months of the sentence on strict conditions.

Judge O'Connor also sentenced him to four years' imprisonment for the count of endangerment and three months' imprisonment for each count of dangerous driving, all of which will run concurrently with the other sentence.

The court heard the pursuit came to an end when the car O'Reilly was driving hit a kerb, blew its tyre and spun out of control near a bus stop.

He had been driving at speeds in excess of 100kph on roads with a speed limit of 50kph.

O'Reilly got out, retrieved a bag and made his escape. The bag was later recovered by gardai and contained the ammunition and the five guns.

O'Reilly escaped from gardai but was identified and later arrested. The firearms were tested by garda ballistics and found to be in working order.

The machine gun was loaded and ready for use. Three of the handguns, including a Glock, were also loaded.

The guns were sealed in clingfilm and it was the view of gardai that he had been transporting them from one location to another.

O'Reilly's 82 previous convictions include one for a drug dealing offence in 2012. He also had convictions for unlawful possession of a stun gun in 2013 and using a mobile phone in prison, as well as burglary and criminal damage.

Garnet Orange SC, defending, told the judge that while his client had previously indicated he accepted the verdict of the jury, O'Reilly had considered his position and decided to maintain his innocence.

The judge said the case was aggravated by the fact that there were multiple firearms and a significant amount of ammunition; that most of the firearms were loaded, and that members of the public were put at risk.

She said the mitigating factors were O'Reilly's relative youth, his being the father of two young children, his having taken part in a charity run and his being an able footballer in the past.

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