Thursday 18 January 2018

Man arrested while wearing a wig guilty of IRA membership

Natasha Reid

A DUBLIN man, arrested wearing a wig while under garda surveillance, has been found guilty of membership of the IRA.

John Daly (49) of Dunsink Gardens, Finglas had pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation within the State, namely the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on January 3, 2012.

The commander of the Special Detective Unit testified during his trial earlier this month that he believed Daly was a member of the IRA on that date.

Chief Superintendent Kevin Donohoe told the non-jury Special Criminal Court that he had confidential information but was claiming privilege in respect of that. He said he first held the belief that Mr Daly was in an illegal organisation in 2009.

The trial heard that the accused was wearing a short brown wig and a black woollen hat when he was arrested following a surveillance operation. Gardai had been observing two vehicles: Daly’s red Mazda 6, and a black Volvo stolen in Castleknock two weeks earlier.

The three-judge court heard that he was arrested with another man outside shops in Clonsilla in west Dublin. He was taken to Finglas Garda Station, where he failed to answer questions about his movements.

Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding, said today that the court was satisfied the Chief Superintendent’s belief was not only honest, but that it was based upon his experience and knowledge of the accused.

He said that belief was strongly corroborated by the failure of the accused to answer material questions.

“Most of the questions put to the accused in all four interviews related to his movements in the course of the surveillance operation and were clearly material questions,” he read from the court’s written judgment.

“He quite simply failed to answer those questions,” he continued.

He said the court was entitled to draw an inference that Daly was a member of the IRA and the court convicted him.

Daly was remanded in custody with consent to bail for sentencing on Friday June 14.

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