Gardai objected to the issuing of shotgun licenses to two brothers amidst fears they would be used in an alleged family feud.
Co Donegal brothers Michael and Kevin McGeever appeared at Letterkenny District Court after Garda Superintendent David Kelly objected to the granting of gun licenses to them.
The brothers, both in their 40s, operate a school-bus service but are also part-time farmers.
The brothers applied to have separate gun licenses in a bid to control vermin and wild dogs on their 40 acres of lands.
However, Superintendent Kelly outlined what he described as a “background” and “family dispute” which he said caused him concern.
He said that since 2006 there have been a total of 18 incidents involving “all applicants” within this family dispute.
These included attacks on buses as well as criminal damage to fences.
The court heard that a shotgun has already been seized on the other side of the McGeever family and the gun license for that firearm revoked.
Supt Kelly said he would not like to leave a situation where one side of the family had an upper hand if they were left with access to a firearm.
He said “I feel there is a propensity on both parties to engage and I do not feel it would be doing the applicants any favours to have a firearm and I oppose this application.”
However, the McGeever brothers of Gortamore, Downings, denied that they planned to use the firearms for anything but controlling vermin and stray dogs.
Solicitor for both men, Mr Patsy Gallagher, said there was no evidence that the men were engaged in a feud.
He added that both brothers were engaged in the bus industry and had been Garda vetted for looking after schoolchildren and their safe welfare.
He added “I suggest that driving kids would take a higher standard of care than shooting a fox during lambing season.”
The court was told that both men had filled in the relevant application forms for gun licenses.
However, Judge Paul Kelly said he noted that Kevin McGeever had answered ‘No’ on the form when asked if he had any previous court convictions when he actually has five.
On that basis, he refused the gun license to Mr Kevin McGeever, the younger of the two brothers.
However, he said Mr Michael McGeever had acted within the law and had “acted properly and responsibly” in reporting all incidents carried out on his land and against his property.
Michael McGeever had said in evidence that he did not know for sure who was carrying out the damage to his property.
Judge Kelly granted Michael McGeever’s application for a gun license.