The shooting of a burglar in Dublin last week is likely to test new legislation passed this year, aimed at clarifying the lengths to which people can go to protect their own property.

A known criminal with over 100 previous offenses was shot by the son of the homeowner on Thursday afternoon, during an apparent attempted robbery in a north Dublin farm house.

The shotgun was legally held by Richard Lowndes, a 79-year-old farmer. Lowndes’ son Graham insists he was "just defending" his father’s home when he opened fire at men he came upon whom he believed were robbing the farmhouse.

Enacted in January The Criminal Law (Defence Dwelling) Act 201 recognizes the constitutional position of a person's home and allows for a person to use reasonable force in defending the home.

The new law means that a person is not under obligation to flee their home when there is an intruder. It was introduced following the infamous case of Co Mayo farmer Padraig Nally, who shot dead John Ward, a traveler, in his home. Nally was convicted of manslaughter and jailed but later acquitted.