A Garda Chief Superintendent has told the Special Criminal Court it is his belief that a man who read out a Continuity IRA statement threatening Irish members of the British Army was a member of the IRA.
In a graveside oration delivered last January, father-of-two Michael Kiely read a statement by CIRA “prisoners of war”, which stated that “the moment you don a British Army uniform you become a legitimate target for the IRA”.
Mr Kiely (43), of Abbeyvale, Corbally, Limerick, has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation within the State styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on January 6, 2013.
Chief Superintendent Dave Sheehan today (Friday) told prosecution counsel Mr Shane Costelloe BL that on January 6th, 2013 he held the belief that Michael Kiely was a member of an unlawful organisation within the state, styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA.
Asked by Mr Costelloe if this belief was formed on the basis of the alleged facts of the investigation or another matter, Chief Supt Sheehan said that nothing which arose out of the incident in Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery or the arrest of Mr Kiely formed part of his belief.
The court has heard that the statement was read by Mr Kiely after a march to the graveside of Sean Sabhat, who is buried in the Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery in Limerick. Sabhat died from wounds sustained during a raid on an RUC barracks in Brookeborough, Co Fermanagh, on New Year’s Day, 1957.
In a recording of the statement which was played to the court, Mr Kiely read: “We have seen from recent years in the city of Limerick that Irish men are considering a career in the British Army, the same British army that hold six of our counties. Whether they are motivated by financial reasons or a sense of adventurism, we take this opportunity to say that the moment you don a British uniform, you become a legitimate target for the IRA.”
He later read: “The RUC were a legitimate target for Sean Sabhat and his comrades then, and the RUC are still legitimate targets today.” The statement was signed: “the Continuity IRA prisoners, Portloaise gaol”.
Asked by Counsel for the accused man, Mr Brendan Nix SC, if he would not have considered telling detectives to “take care” as the accused man was in the IRA, Chief Supt replied: “Not necessarily, no”.
When it was put to him that if he really believed the accused man was a member of the IRA, he would not have waited until January 16 to “pick him up, Chief Supt Sheehan replied that he held the belief on January 6, 2013 that the accused man was a member of the IRA.
Mr Nix later told the court it was intention to call both Mr Kiely and his partner to give evidence.
The trial continues on Wednesday before presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler, sitting with Judge Margaret Heneghan and Judge Flannan Brennan.