Saturday 1 October 2016

IRA membership accused have trial date set for January 2018 - despite court's backlog plans

Published 03/02/2016 | 16:46

The Special Criminal Court. Photo: Collins
The Special Criminal Court. Photo: Collins

Two men accused of IRA membership and explosive charges could face up to two years in prison are awaiting trial at the Special Criminal Court, despite plans to set up a second court to deal with a major backlog at the non jury court.

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A trial date of January 2018 has been set for the two accused men who were refused bail at earlier hearings.

On Tuesday, lead Special Criminal Court judge Mr Justice Paul Butler fixed a trial date for the two accused men for January 11th, 2018.

The judge, who earlier this month said he is “increasingly pessimistic” that a second Special Criminal Court - announced last October - will be set up - told the men’s lawyers that when the proposed second court is “up and running” the men can apply for an earlier trial date.

Séamus McGrane (60), of Little Road, Domiskin, Co Louth, is charged with membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hÉireann otherwise the IRA within the State between December 23 2009 and May 13 2015.

He is also charged with directing the activities of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA, in respect of which a suppression order had been made, within the State on dates between December 23 2009 and May 13 2015 inclusive.

His co-accused, Donal O Coisdealbha (23), of Abbeyfield, Killester Dublin 15, is charged with membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hÉireann otherwise the IRA within the State on May 13 2015.

Mr O Coisdealbha is also charged with possession of a component part of an improvised explosive device namely a time and power unit also known as a TPU at “the personal storage locker under the control of Donal O Coisdealbha at Protector Life Sciences, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Co Kildare” under such circumstances as to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that he had not got it in his possession for a lawful purpose on May 13 2015.

Last December Independent TDs Mick Wallace, Clare Daly and Maureen O’Sullivan offered to stand bail at a cost of €5,000 each for university graduate Mr O Coisdealbha who was refused bail for a third time following objections by gardai.

Mr McGrane was refused bail, including temporary bail, at a separate hearing.

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