Two Limerick brothers who were caught transporting a high-powered sub machine gun were each jailed for 18 months.
Darren Cunneen, aged 36, of Castelfarm, Hospital and Jason Cunneen, aged 22, of Clare Street pleaded guilty to suspicious possession of the weapon outside Dundalk on January 19, 2011.
During a sentencing hearing, Dundalk Circuit Court was told that following a surveillance operation, gardai stopped a car which was travelling south at Drumleck, Castlebellingham on the Dublin/Belfast motorway.
Detective Garda Shane Fennell said during a search of the car, a blue sports bag containing a Mark III Sten sub machine gun was found in the passenger foot well.
The court was told Darren Cunneen was the driver of the vehicle and that his brother, Jason, was in the front passenger seat.
Judge Leonie Reynolds was told Jason Cunneen was addicted to cannabis and that he had developed a significant drugs debt as a result.
Prior to the incident, he was contacted by a person, who was not identified in court, and told to collect an item and to bring it to Limerick.
However, both men told gardai they didn’t know that it was a sub machine in the holdall.
Jason Cunneen admitted to gardai that he got his older brother involved and that Darren had provided the car thinking that Jason was in some form of danger and was going to collect drugs.
Judge Reynolds was told that the brothers came from a respectable family.
Darren Cunneen has 34 convictions, including one for manslaughter. Jason has no previous convictions but has matters pending before the courts.
Judge Reynolds sentenced each of the men to three years imprisonment, suspending the final 18 months.