Wednesday 21 February 2018

Man accused of possessing explosive substance was 'engineer for the IRA', Special Criminal Court hears

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Daniel Hickey

A Northern Ireland man accused of possessing an explosive substance was "an engineer for the IRA", the Special Criminal Court has heard.

The court was also told by a member of the Special Detective Unit of how a car bomb was abandoned outside a popular Dublin hotel.

Samuel Devlin (55), with an address at Golf Suite, Finnstown House Hotel, Lucan, Co Dublin has pleaded not guilty to the unlawful possession of the explosive substance (PETN) at the same address on May 11, 2014.

It is the prosecution's case that Mr Devlin booked himself into the chalet at Finnstown House Hotel using a false name and that an explosive substance was found in the chalet while he was residing there.

Today, Detective Sergeant Padraig Boyce, of the Special Detective Unit, told the three-judge, non-jury court that on the morning of the alleged offence he was made aware that there was a "car bomb abandoned" outside the Finnstown House Hotel.

With members of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU), the detective entered a Golf Suite chalet on the hotel's grounds, where he saw a number of items which he believed were being used for the construction of improvised explosive devices, the court heard.

The accused man was restrained by a member of the ERU, arrested by Det Sgt Boyce and transported to Lucan garda station, the court was told.

During cross-examination, Det Sgt Boyce told defence counsel Bernard Condon SC, "There was a car bomb for the first time in 16 years in Dublin city. I was aware Samuel Devlin was in that compound."

He said he believed Mr Devlin was "an engineer for the IRA, a bomb maker".

The court also heard evidence today that, during interviews with gardai, Mr Devlin denied being in possession or control of explosives.

The trial continues.

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