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A great-grandmother from Dublin, who was caught in possession of two handguns at Dublin Airport, told authorities she was using the weapons as protection for her family.

Elizabeth Griffin said she purchased the guns after her family was attacked by criminals from the north-side of Dublin.

She was also found to be in possession of six bullets, three shotgun cartridges and a balaclava at her home. The 69-year-old has 12 children, 30 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

A judge at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court imposed a one-year suspended sentence on the 69-year-old who lives in Finglas, North Dublin.

The great-grandmother had pleaded guilty to possession of a P8 semi-automatic pistol, a blank firing pistol and six rounds of ammunition at Dublin Airport on April 13, 2010, the Evening Herald reports.
She had no previous convictions.

Griffin was due to fly to Bermingham to visit her sister when the discovery was made at Dublin Airport through the X-ray machine.
When airport security first discovered the weapons they thought it was a test, due to the woman’s age.

When they went to search the woman’s bag she warned them to be careful. During an interview following her arrest she said she had the guns for protection as her son had been shot.
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In a follow-up search of her home police found three shotgun cartridges and a balaclava in her bedroom.

She told authorities her family were involved in a feud with Finglas criminals, in which three of her sons had been shot, her home shot and petrol-bombed and her son’s car burnt out. Police reports confirmed the attacks.

She informed police she had bought the weapons herself for the family’s protection. She said she have forgot the guns were still in her bag when she arrived at the airport.

"You sometimes reach a point where you feel you've seen everything, then something like this comes along to surprise you," Judge Tony Hunt said.

"I would challenge anyone to find a more exceptional and specifically unusual case.

"Not to condone what Ms Griffin did but on a human level I can understand it.

"It's a very sad commentary over how things have become in this city in the past decade."