From Our Cold Dead Hands


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Mark Dennehy writes:

You might want to point your news team at the latest firearms legislation stuff that just got walked out yesterday. It looks like another diversion from the water taxes and the reports on the AGS, but this one is going to kick up a real stink, the Gardai basically just called every licenced firearms owner in Ireland a homicidal maniac (and/or paedophile)…



Gun Fight!

Department of Justice and Equality / An Garda Síochána Working Group on Review of Firearms Licensing

73 thoughts on “From Our Cold Dead Hands

  1. Grouse

    Where did they basically call them that, Mark? Do I have to read the whole thing? It’s not in the above extract.

    1. Mark Dennehy

      It’s in the “Why we want to ban these” bit Grouse, where the first thing they do is start talking about Dunblane and the second thing they talk about is drug crime in Dublin.

      1. Grouse

        Thanks, Mark. I saw your expanded comments below. The Broadsheet post would have been better accompanied by them. I often suspect they’re being deliberately obfuscatory in order to sow confusion and comments, if that’s not to cynical.

  2. serf

    Broadsheet??? What legitimate business does anyone have possessing a handgun or shotguns capable of holding more than 3 rounds?

    Sensible legislation, sloppy reporting. As for “diversion from water taxes”. Really?

    1. Anne

      As for “diversion from water taxes”. Really?

      Yes, in Mark’s world.

      Mark, no one really gives a tuppence, you homicidal maniac/and or pedo.

      1. Mark Dennehy

        I don’t have the energy to be manic and I don’t like feet, can’t I just be someone who medalled for Ireland in an international sport and wrote part of the Firearms Act?

    2. Mark Dennehy

      serf, even the Olympic pistols have a magazine that holds more then three rounds.
      The legislation isn’t sensible. I kindof think I can say that because (a) I’ve been involved in target shooting for twenty years, and (b) I helped write the current firearms act.

  3. read twice

    I think Mark Dennehy is a Fine Gael youngling. Because he’s right, it does look like another diversion from the water tax.

    1. Mark Dennehy

      I was labour for the last few elections actually.
      Though, like a lot of people, I have no idea who I’m voting for next time round (I just know who I *won’t* be voting for).

  4. phil

    Mark is it? or is it Sparks? Should you not declare your interest in the subject?

    Ive seen some pretty aggressive behaviour on forum, when someone comes along and
    1) tries to ask legitimate questions from members on whether the gun licensing is fit for purpose in this country.
    2) leaving Olympic shooting aside, whether going to a gun club and shooting paper targets with a glock, is actually a ‘sport’
    3) suggests that they would prefer the Gardai hand out less licenses in their community
    4) suggests humans being humans, thats its only a matter of time before some legitimate gun owner looses control of reason (like we all do from time to time) and does something terrible to themselves or a member of the public with a firearm.

    In saying all that, Im all for libertarian policies where there is very little regulation and you can own or purchase what you wish, but not yet, I just don’t think as a society/individuals we are mature enough yet…

    1. Frenchfarmer

      ” suggests humans, being humans, that it is only a matter of time before some legitimate gun owner looses control of reason (like we all do from time to time) and does something terrible to themselves or a member of the public with a firearm.”
      Next up..Frying pans; garden spades, Hurley sticks (now there’s a dangerous thing to own) ?????
      Sighs deeply and buries face in a bowl of fine wine and wonders how many have fallen before the mighty hurley stick.
      A good bit of wood in the hand can take out a gunman before he gets it out of his pocket, turns off the safety and cocks it.

    2. Mark Dennehy

      (a) Yeah, you see where it says Sparks and it has a photo of me on it and when you click on it my real name is there and has been for over a decade? I kindof think that’s a declared link.

      (b) I didn’t know this piece was going up on broadsheet and I didn’t write the article, I’m just quoted in it. Hint: I wouldn’t have used that stupid headline.

      (c) You wander into a sports forum and ask, oh-so-innocently if it’s a “real” sport, ask people to justify its existence on the grounds of public safety despite the point that target shooting’s been actively taking place in Ireland since the early 1850s without injury or incident, and otherwise troll the forum, and yeah, you’re going to get a rise out of some people before the *volunteer* moderators see that trolling and clean it up. On the other hand, I’ve also seen the outcome if you wander into the Cork forum and say Kerry’s a nicer part of Ireland, and frankly, the shooting forum wouldn’t even twitch the meter you need to measure *that* response.

      (d) We’ve had firearms – and pistols – in Ireland since before the founding of the state. Since the invention of pistols, in fact. With a single gap in that time during the Troubles when they weren’t allowed to be licenced in the Republic (though that ban didn’t happen north of the border – as the RUC put it, “It’s not the licenced ones we’re worried about”). So saying this is new, saying this is troubling, saying this needs something to be done – that’s just ignorant nonsense. We saw it spouted by Jim Deasy in 2008 and Michael McDowell in 2004, and it’s been ten years since then and none of what they were saying was inevitable has ever happened.

      1. Custo

        You’re obviously a maniac, and they’re right to take your guns away. No one needs them & it’s not a sport.

  5. chris

    all sounds resonable and good to me. making sure hand guns and semi automatic rifles are less readily available in ireland is a positive thing.

      1. Mark Dennehy

        You can’t get not-so-semi automatics anywhere in the EU. Fully automatic firearms of any kind (rifle, pistol or shotgun – and yes, you can get fully automatic shotguns and yes, that is fairly fecking disturbing) are categorised as Class A firearms by the EU and can only be owned with permission from the government of the member state – specifically in Ireland, the Minister for Defence or the Minister for Justice.

        In other words, the Army and Gardai can have them; nobody else.

        And nobody else has ever asked for them either. Apart from anything else, they’d run you something like five hundred euro a minute in ammunition alone…

    1. Mark Dennehy

      They’re not readily available now Chris. Seriously, does nobody know the safeguards and procedures that the law has had in place for these things for years now?

  6. Helen 2.0

    I think right Mark…..the DoJ/AGS wish’s to restrict the use of firearms designed for police and military use will be the downfall of this Government

  7. Kieran NYC

    Mark, you’re going to have to explain this better to us.

    Because at the moment it just looks like ‘Man with gun is angry’, which doesn’t make your argument sympathetic.

    1. Mark Dennehy

      Sorry Kieran, I didn’t know this was being published and didn’t get a chance to do that.

      To summarise:
      – Target shooting has been around in Ireland since the 1850s without accident or injury.
      – Center-fire handguns have been around in Ireland since their invention, with a 30-year gap during the troubles. They’re used for sports purposes and nothing else – you cannot get a licence for any other purpose with one and you must be a current (and it’s tracked) member of an approved range as well as a dozen other requirements including gun safes, the Gardai inspecting those safes and your medical records, character references, and so on.
      – Several hundred court cases have been taken in the last three or four years because Gardai have not been enforcing the law as written but making it up; in the most public of those cases in the High Court recently, they were revealed to have been altering application forms during the course of those cases.
      – Despite what this document says – and this has been asked several times in the Dail in Written Questions – there is no data saying that any licenced handgun has been used in a crime in the state. None. What we have here is a Garda document saying “Well, we can’t prove it happened, but let’s write law banning several sports, confiscating personal property without compensation and portraying it as a solution to drug crime”. That will irk you somewhat if it’s you they’re talking about.

      And all this comes out in the same week as reports into the Gardai are released showing them in a negative light.

      It’s a bit hard to accept this report on face value even before you start reading it and start seeing the incorrect things in there – and I’d need a lot more typing time to go through all of them and you’ll be bored by the end, but here’s one for you: they want to only allow firearms designed for use in the Olympics to be licenced. Problem is, there aren’t many of those – only the high-end international shooters use them because at about three grand apiece, they’re very expensive. Beginners in the sport use less expensive pistols, ones which are suitable for use in the Olympics (meaning they pass the equipment rules in the ISSF rulebook). It’s proposed to ban those, even though they’re the entry point to an Olympic sport, haven’t ever been used in crime in Ireland and just aren’t any kind of threat to the public. And daft things like that go on throughout that document.

      1. Kieran NYC

        Very fair enough. Sorry we interrupted your dinner!

        Broadsheet – I think you should take this article down and put it up again with Mark’s full comments. Then we can get a proper debate going and call each other shills and it will be wonderful.


          1. Kieran NYC

            Apparently I’m a FG shill, but nary a red cent I’ve seen from Inda yet!


          1. deliverancecountry

            You’re any easy target, as it were, they know who has what guns and where. This has exactly zero to do with drug crime, but the authorities can claim to have taken hundreds of weapons ‘out of circulation’, which will be of little comfort to any Guard out looking for Nidge IRL.

  8. cluster

    Nice attempt to align your cause with relatively common sources if discontent.

    The proposed changes seem sensible to me but I know little about the subject. Care to let us know what your issue is (preferably without such generous use of hyperbole)?

    1. Mark Dennehy

      See above cluster; as I said, I didn’t write this article, didn’t know it was being published and didn’t get the opportunity to put the case forward in the article. I mentioned it in an email to broadsheet about something entirely different and they never asked any followup questions. I only found out about this because someone pinged me on twitter about it while I was cooking dinner.

    1. Mark Dennehy

      It was friday so pizza and bacon (toddlers man, they decide they’re eating one thing and that’s the end of history). Yesterday was slow-cooked beef stew with pearl barley. Tomorrow I’m thinking home-made pasta for my take on thousand-layer lasagna (which tends to come out to twelve layers, but I’m not a professional chef…)

        1. Mark Dennehy

          The kneading doesn’t half take it out of your arms though. How little Italian grandmothers do this I don’t know. I have to resort to the kenwood chef every time.

      1. Fiona

        So what time should we be around for dinner tomorrow so? ;-) xx
        Oh, and I did nearly wet myself laughing when I read the bit about you being a young FG-er….. it’s been a while since anyone called you young! :-p

  9. ger fitz

    Suffice to say, the Minister for justice of the day, Dermot Aherne, was part-motivated to severely restrict access to firearms in 2009 after a TV3 documentary on gangland gun crime.
    How did that work out?

    1. Mark Dennehy

      Well, he made it illegal for anyone to own, use, or work for any company owning or using paintball guns on pain of a seven year jail sentence and twenty thousand euro in fines, so I’d have to say it was a suboptimal sort of attempt really.

      (No, not joking. Possession or use of a “restricted short firearm” carries that sentence and nobody drafting the bit of the law that defined what a restricted short firearm actually was managed to hear the shooting NGBs point out that they’d included paintball guns in the definition by accident).

  10. Bill E Bong

    I lived in (semi)-rural France for a bit back in the mid-90’s.
    I was asked a few times about ‘hunting-holidays’ back in Ireland, and every time I dismissed it as something of fantasy, something that would never happen because of our ‘no-gun’ culture.

    Was I wrong?
    Do the culchies have guns now?
    Did they always have guns?

    1. Mick Flavin

      We always had guns. Pheasant, duck and fox hunting are still big where I’m from anyway. A lot of farmers would have a shotgun or rifle or both.

      1. Zarathustra

        Also, Mick, farmers need them to protect their stock against dogs, particularly during lambing season.

    2. Mark Dennehy

      Well, we’ve won the world championships in Olympic shotgun twice, along with a few dozen medals at world cups in Olympic shotgun, a handful or two of medals in Olympic rifle as well as a box or ten of medals in other international shooting sports, the Chef de Mission for the Irish Olympic team going to Rio is a shotgun shooting coach, and we’ve placed in the top ten in the world in a handful of shooting sports several times, so basically yes, you were wrong on the target shooting end of things.

      As to the hunting end of things, we don’t tend to do hunting holidays as such (or at least, not very much, nowhere near the scale of somewhere like Scotland or France). Mostly hunting in Ireland is shooting foxes on farms, hunting rabbits or pheasant or deer for the pot, that kind of thing. It doesn’t tend to be commercial in nature (although we’ve seen a serious problem with deer poaching arise since the economic recession hit).

    3. ger fitz

      “Was I wrong?”

      That says it all – there were about 180,000 or more licensed firearms here at the time you moved to France.

      Minister Frances Fitzgerald in is worried that these now pose a threat to public safety:

      “Mass shootings have happened in other jurisdictions over the past number of years with tragic consequences. A common theme in some of these shootings is that the firearms used are legally owned. I think it is only right that we consider options now, rather than endure a similar tragedy here”

      On the night when we see coverage of Irish soccer fans mingling in the stands with the Scots.

    1. Mick Flavin

      Gerry Adams rejects any implication that he has, or ever did have, a gun lobby in his home. Likewise, he strongly denies having had a bomb cellar, grenade attic, or AK47 parlour.

  11. Niallo

    Disarm the proles now before they look at the poxy .22’s they are allowed to have and the fuppers who have been rogering us sideways for years and put two and two together.
    Bullies dont like competition.

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