Judge “gives a chance” to builder on shotgun charge

A builder who held a gun when he ordered liquidation staff off his premises was  given a chance by a judge this week.

Judge Conal Gibbons acknowledged that the two people working for the liquidator were terrified when given five minutes to clear off a building site by Michael Herron who carried a single-barrel shotgun.

But the judge also acknowledged that 60-year-old Herron, who was now earning a living in Nigeria, was totally remorseful for what he did when he admitted producing a shotgun in a dispute.

Dungloe District Court heard that Herron watched for four days from his home as staff from liquidators bore away materials from his bust building company next door.

He believed scaffolding being loaded onto a truck was going to be sold as scrap and he believed that was further devaluing the assets.

Inspector David Kelly said during the investigation gardai discovered Herron was intoxicated when he gave the liquidation staff five minutes to leave the site beside his home at Clooney, Portnoo, when he carried an unloaded shotgun.

Gardai later arrested him in his niece’s car. They recovered 12 shotgun cartridges at his parent’s home following the incident on February 9, 2011.

Herron gave a pledge to gardai that he would not in future apply for a firearms licence.

Defence solicitor Francis Gillespie told the court that Herron was working in Nigeria for the past year and feared a conviction would affect his visa to return.

Judge Gibbons said the “unfortunate” liquidation staff were unaware the gun was unloaded. It was not an easy task for liquidators and their position must be respected in an organised, civilised way.

He adjourned the case until July to give Herron an opportunity to pay €1,000 compensation to each of the two liquidator employees ordered off the site.