Young father was holding rare and powerful machine gun

By Sonya McLean

A young father who was holding a rare and powerful machine gun in order to pay off a drug debt has been remanded in custody pending sentence.

Mark Skelly (19) of Bulfin House, Bulfin Road, Inchicore pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of a Mac-10 firearm, ammunition and a silencer at his father’s home in Ballyfermot on May 21, 2019. He has no previous convictions.

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Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Detective Garda Donal Donoghue told Monika Leech BL, prosecuting, that the loaded machine gun was found in a wheelie bin at Skelly’s father home along with a silencer. He said the weapon, which was capable of firing 1,140 rounds of ammunition a minute, was very rare and no longer manufactured.

He said that Skelly had displayed “a level of knowledge” in relation to firearms that Skelly claimed came from playing the computer game “Call of Duty”.

The detective said that Skelly admitted that he had previously discharged the gun but wouldn't give the gardai “any specifics”.

Det Garda Donoghue agreed with Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, that Skelly’s parents separated when he was young and that both his mother and father had their own difficulties.

He accepted that Skelly left school at 15 years old and began spending a lot of time at home playing video games before he started abusing both cocaine and cannabis.

Det Garda Donoghue said there were “some grounds for optimism” in that Skelly had not come to garda attention since his arrest. He has a partner and she gave birth last February.

The garda said he was “reasonably confident” that if Skelly stays drug free and away from his previous contacts, he will not be before the court again.

He accepted that he there was no “background intelligence” that Skelly gained his knowledge in relation to the weapon from any other source than this computer game.

Ms Leech said given the nature and quality of the firearm, that it was a high velocity weapon which was loaded and primed for use, the Director of Public Prosecutions, put the case at the higher end of the scale.

Mr O’Higgins told Judge Karen O’Connor that his client maintains that he didn’t discharge the gun.

Judge O’Connor adjourned the case to July 21 next for sentence. She revoked Skelly’s bail and remanded him in custody until that date.

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