A man who told the gardaí he had been shot in the face by a criminal gang admitted he had in fact had shot himself, after his mother told the gardaí he did it himself.

28-year-old Darren Nolan was found by the gardaí in the front garden of his home at Shangan Green in Ballymun at 3am on 8 May 2018, with a gunshot wound to his left cheek.

He told them he had been shot by three young men wearing balaclavas but his mother then told the gardaí that she believed he had shot himself.

Gardaí searched then Nolan's bedroom and found blood on the floor as well as a handgun in a drawer. They also discovered €15,537 worth of heroin and €933 worth of cocaine.

When the gardaí asked Nolan about the shooting a second time while he was in hospital, he again told them that he had been attacked.

However, when interviewed in a garda station the following day, he admitted he had shot himself after drinking a bottle of whiskey and a shoulder of vodka.

He also told them that his mother did not want him to drink spirits and this had caused arguments between them.

Nolan said that that during one of these arguments he told his mother he would shoot himself but she did not take him seriously as she did not know he had a gun.

Nolan said he went to his bedroom and took out his gun, which he had bought online using Bitcoin and was only capable of firing blanks and flares.

He raised the gun to his cheek and shot himself with a blank.

He pleaded guilty at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to recklessly discharging a firearm and to possession of heroin and cocaine for sale or supply at his home on 8 May, 2018.

He also pleaded guilty to making a false statement to gardaí at the Mater Hospital in Dublin on the same day. He has four previous convictions for road traffic offences including drink driving.

The court was told that Nolan had agreed to hold the drugs for someone else and that he told the gardaí he had made up the story about being shot because he "did not want people to think he is a lunatic".

His defence counsel James Dwyer said Nolan, who has never had a job, began drinking heavily in secondary school and continues to abuse alcohol "on an almost daily basis".

He had been prescribed anti-psychotic medication and a psychological assessment determined he was of low self-esteem and vulnerable to associating with others who did not have his best interests at heart.

Mr Dwyer also said Nolan was no longer in contact with an individual involved in drugs and expressed "significant remorse and shame" for the offences.

He described his client as being "something of a patsy" in relation to the drugs offences.

Judge Karen O'Connor said today that Darren Nolan was a vulnerable person who had been taken advantage of and manipulated by others to hold the drugs.

She said he had made good progress in addressing his addiction issues and noted he has been offered a residential treatment place.

She handed down a two-year sentence and suspended it on a number of conditions, including that Nolan attend residential treatment.

The judge had previously said she was concerned that Nolan sees himself in a dark tunnel with no light at the end and told him that "there is always light at the end".