An 88-year-old retired NYPD cop living out his golden years in Ireland was busted in a dragnet worthy of a Hollywood movie — for keeping an old, decommissioned revolver in his home.
The daring morning police raid was the largest in recent memory in the tiny village of Swanlinbar, County Cavan, population 200, when up to 10 armed officers in six vehicles descended on the picture-postcard hamlet.
“I said to them, I wish it was f–king loaded because I would have blown every f–king one of you away,” the outraged octogenarian recalled to The Post. The firing pin was removed from the gun a long time ago, and it is no longer functional.
“Can you imagine?” Jude McGovern said. “About 10 of them forced in my front door around 9:30 in the morning when I was out of the house, and then I come back and find four of them going through my furniture looking for my gun.”
The April 9 seizure came after a local judge signed a warrant citing “unlawful possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances” in the Main Street apartment where McGovern lives with his two Jack Russell terriers.
The feisty Irishman, who grew up in Swanlinbar, speculates that law enforcement learned about his relic of a firearm from social media, after a visitor to McGovern’s home a few years ago snapped a playful picture of the gun and posted it on Facebook.
Ireland’s police force, known as An GardaSíochána (Irish for “Guardians of the Peace”), told The Post it does not comment on named individuals, but did confirm it executed a search warrant.
“A suspected unlicensed firearm was seized and sent to the Ballistics Unit for analysis,” the statement said.
The former lawman — McGovern also served as a correction officer at Rikers Island — said Irish cops told him they would return his gun “when it was justified by a gunsmith that it is inoperable.”
McGovern insists he was cleared to purchase the firearm for personal protection when off duty during his law enforcement days in New York. He bought the Smith and Wesson five-shot revolver in Lower Manhattan in 1968. McGovern would carry it in a holster on his leg. Before he returned to the old sod in 1996, McGovern said he had the firearm decommissioned in New Jersey for $175.
Although McGovern never declared the gun on his return to Ireland, he did declare it and completed the paperwork at Newark Airport before his 1996 departure for Ireland.
He said the piece holds “sentimental value” to him.
McGovern says the dramatic dragnet shattered his nerves, and he’s had to take pills to calm down.
McGovern immigrated to the US in 1957, joining the same US Army division based in Fort Hood as Elvis Presley, although he never met the King. He said his military career took him to Germany and Greenland.
In 1965, McGovern and a partner, FDNY firefighter Jack Farley, opened The Moonshiner on 94th Street and Roosevelt Avenue near Shea Stadium, a pub popular with Mets players.
In 1968, McGovern joined the NYPD, and later switched to Corrections.
McGovern is now the talk of Swanlinbar, a village about 100 miles northwest of Dublin. But he says he’s no criminal.
“No common sense prevailed in this incident,” McGovern told The Post. “I enjoy my few rum and cokes at night but I didn’t drink during Lent. I am not interested in doing anything notorious at 88 years of age.”