Saturday 10 December 2016

Special Criminal Court hears evidence of phone calls warning of bombs at UCC and Rock of Cashel on day before Queen of England's visit

Daniel Hickey

Published 04/03/2016 | 14:32

Mary McAleese with the Queen in Dublin
Mary McAleese with the Queen in Dublin

The Special Criminal Court trial of a man accused of IRA membership has heard evidence of telephone calls warning of explosive devices at University College Cork and the Rock of Cashel in May 2011.

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The Queen of England was due to visit the Rock of Cashel the day after the warnings were made, the court also heard.

Kevin Power (38), with an address at Railway Street, Passage West, County Cork, has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation within the State styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann, otherwise the IRA on December 19th, 2011.

Today, at the three-judge, non-jury court, David Maher, a security officer at Cork University Hospital, told prosecuting counsel Vincent Heneghan BL that on May 19th, 2011, between 1:55am and 2:05am, he received a phone-call warning of a bomb. 

The caller, speaking in a Northern accent, said he was a member of the republican movement and that there were bombs at a UCC car-park and the Rock of Cashel, the court heard. 

Mr Maher said that after the warning he called the gardai.

A volunteer with the Samaritans also gave evidence that, on the same night, at 1:59am, he received a call.

The caller said there was "an active device" at UCC and he gave the Samaritan volunteer a codeword, "Heather Bay", the court heard.  

Detective Sergeant William Blaney told the court that one of the warnings was about the Rock of Cashel and that he knew the Queen of England was due to visit the following day. 

Earlier, opening the prosecution case, Mr Heneghan told the court that after the phone-calls had been received and the gardai contacted, UCC's car-park was searched and a detective found what he believed to be a grenade.

The barrister said the evidence will be that the grenade was "non-viable" and for "training purposes within the army".

The court will also hear evidence that the device had been put into a plastic bag and that three fingerprints were found on the outside on the bag.

Evidence linking the fingerprints to Mr Power will be presented to the court, Mr Heneghan said.

The court will also hear evidence about calls made to Cork 96FM from an unknown person claiming to be from the IRA, as well as evidence that Mr Power was arrested on December 19th, 2011, and detained under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.

A Chief Superintendent will give evidence to the court that it was his belief that Mr Power was a member of the IRA.

There will also be evidence of association, the court heard. 

The trial resumes on Tuesday.

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