A man who shot an innocent bystander in the chest when he fired a shotgun in a west Dublin breaker’s yard has been jailed for five years.
James Gallagher (33) of Cushlawn Park, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm and recklessly discharging a firearm at Cullen’s Yard, Greenhill Road, Walkinstown on August 4, 2018.
Garda Aidan Devenney told Diana Stuart BL, prosecuting, that John O’Connor was at the scrapyard to buy car parts when he saw a man holding a single-barrel shotgun.
This man discharged the gun. O’Connor didn’t realise he had been shot but he was knocked to the ground after receiving multiple gunshot pellet wounds.
Gallagher and another man left the scene on foot and a witness then saw a car driving away at speed.
Mr O’Connor was not the intended target of the discharged shotgun, the garda said. The victim rang for an ambulance and was brought to Tallaght Hospital.
Another man also received minor injuries but did not need to attend hospital. The firearm was never found.
Gda Devenney said the shooting related to the sale of a red Seat Ibiza the day before and that CCTV had identified Gallagher at this incident. Gardaí also recovered a pair of discarded tracksuit bottoms that contained a phone linked to Gallagher.
Gallagher has 42 previous convictions, including convictions for theft, criminal damage, possession of drugs for sale or supply and road traffic offences. He has two children.
Ciaran O’Loughlin SC, defending, said that his client was one of eight children and had left school at 14 and taken up work. He said Gallagher had begun to use heroin at an early age, but had since become clean of drugs.
He said his client was “deeply sorry and apologetic” for this crimes.
Judge Elma Sheahan said the reckless firing of a shotgun in a public place was egregious and unacceptable. She noted Gallagher has made significant and successful efforts to get clean of drug addiction.
She imposed a number of concurrent sentences, resulting in an operative sentence of five years. The sentence runs from December 4, 2018 when Gallagher went into custody.