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Men who demanded €50,000 claimed to be in Continuity IRA

TWO men claiming to be members of the Continuity IRA and carrying a magazine photo-spread of a paramilitary funeral demanded €50,000 from a Dublin man on pain of death, a Special Criminal Court trial will hear.

Derek Palmer (55), of Corduff Green, Blanchardstown, has pleaded not guilty to making an unwarranted demand of one Wayne Whitehouse with menaces, namely that he pay the sum of €50,000 or be killed, at Hampton Green, Balbriggan on July 14th, 2011.

Opening the prosecution case, Mr Vincent Heneghan BL this morning said the court would hear that on the evening in question two men called to the house in Hampton Green and told Brendan Whitehouse, a brother of Wayne, that they wanted €50,000 from Wayne or he would be killed.

Mr Heneghan told the court there would be evidence that the men said they were members of the Continuity IRA and alleged that Wayne was a drug dealer.

He said the court would hear that the men produced a magazine carrying photographs of a paramilitary-style funeral to “show that they meant business”.

Mr Heneghan said there would be evidence that Brendan Whitehouse was then directed to look around a nearby corner where he saw around four to five men in balaclavas.

He said that a short time later Wayne Whitehouse arrived at the scene, where the two men told him he would be “getting it” if he did not produce €50,000 that evening.

Mr Heneghan said the court would hear that gardai later stopped ten men travelling in two vehicles close to Hampton Green, and that the accused man Derek Palmer was a driver of one of the vehicles.

He said the court would hear evidence that a garda search of the cars yielded balaclavas and black woollen gloves, while a search of the immediate locality revealed a copy of Saoirse magazine, which depicted a paramilitary-style funeral and had a fingerprint matching that of Derek Palmer.

The trial, in front of presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler, sitting with Judge Margaret Heneghan and Judge William Hamill, continues tomorrow.