Tuesday 24 April 2018

Gardai used surveillance devices to listen to conversations at a private house, court hears

Stock photo: Collins
Stock photo: Collins

Eoin Reynolds

Gardai acting on confidential information used surveillance devices to listen to conversations at a private house, the Special Criminal Court heard today.

The trial opened of three people charged with membership of the IRA and two charged with assisting the IRA.

Prosecution counsel Tara Burns SC told the three-judge court that the evidence focuses on events at a private residence in Riverwood Park, Castleknock in Dublin on August 7th and 8th 2015.

She said they will hear evidence that the house had recently been vacated by its tenants and was being prepared for new tenants to move in. Someone asked the owner if he could have use of the house for his uncle and nephew for the weekend and the owner agreed.

Counsel said the court would hear of the comings and goings from that house over the two-day period where the five accused were observed by gardai and arrested on August 8.

Kevin Hannaway (69) of Collin Mill, Belfast has pleaded not guilty to knowingly rendering assistance to an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA, namely with Sean Hannaway, assisting in interviewing persons involved in IRA organised criminal activities, said interviews being directly or indirectly in the furtherance of an unlawful object, at Riverwood Park, Castleknock, Dublin 15 on August 7th and 8th, 2015.

His co-accused Eva Shannon (60) of Oakman Street, Belfast pleaded not guilty to the same offence on the same dates.

Edward O’Brien (42), of Hazelcroft Road, Finglas, Dublin 11, David Nooney (53) of Coultry Green, Ballymun, Dublin 11, and Seán Hannaway (48) of Linden Gardens, Belfast pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation within the State, namely an organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on August 8th, 2015.

The three Belfast-based accused, counsel said, stayed in the house overnight while the other two were seen visiting. Other people visited or were brought to the house. Mr Nooney, she said, was seen in a car in the vicinity of the house and on August 7 he took items from the boot of his car and brought them in to the house.

Kevin Hannaway, Eva Shannon and Sean Hannaway were seen entering the house carrying bags.

Besides the observations of gardai, Ms Burns said the court would hear evidence of conversations recorded inside the house by surveillance devices placed there after gardai received confidential information. She said these would show that interviews were conducted in the house with two men for the purposes of the furtherance of an unlawful objective.

In relation to Mr Nooney, she said there would be evidence that he is associated with members of an unlawful organisation and in relation to the three charged with membership of the IRA there will be inferences drawn from answers they gave to gardai which amount to a refusal to answer.

A garda chief superintendent will also give evidence that he believes the three were members of an unlawful organisation.

The trial continues tomorrow in front of Justice Isobel Kennedy, Justice Robert Haughton and Judge Gerard Griffin.

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