Carlow man pleads guilty after drink & drug-fuelled rifle rampage in Donegal

Garda tells court it was a miracle that no-one was killed.

A court in Donegal has heard it’s a miracle nobody was killed when a Carlow man went on a drink and drug-fuelled rampage with a rifle through the town of Glenties.

25-year-old Stephen Dowling of Burren Road in Carlow has pleaded guilty to a range of charges relating to the early hours of Feb 22 2020 that was described in court as like something from the wild west.

He had travelled to Donegal with a group to hunt deer the previous day.

Letterkenny Circuit Court heard that a drinking session afterwards spiralled out of control and Mr Dowling admitted to also taking €100 worth of cocaine that he had bought in Carlow before the trip.

He then went back to his B&B to get his high-powered rifle, and put on his hunting gear again, before parading around the town firing his weapon up to nine times.

The court heard that he fired on two armed Gardai called in to deal with the situation and how bullets went whizzing past people’s heads.

One Garda giving evidence said: ”It was just a miracle that no-one was seriously injured or killed.”

Two Gardai said they suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the wake of the incident.

Stephen Dowling is due to be sentenced next week and could face a custodial sentence.