Thursday 20 June 2019

Seven men accused of IRA membership go on trial

Criminal Courts of Justice
Criminal Courts of Justice

By Diarmaid Mac Dermott

The head of Garda Security and Intelligence has told the Special Criminal Court that he believed seven men arrested after a garda swoop on a used car lot on Good Friday almost two years ago were IRA members.

Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Kirwan, of the Security and Intelligence section at Garda Headquarters, said that his belief was based on confidential information over which he claimed privilege.

Cross examined by defence counsel the Detective Chief Superintendent said that the information was based upon human sources and telephone intercepts.

Detective Chief Superintendent Kirwan said that he has spent thirty years in the gardai involved in intelligence gathering in relation to threats to the security of the State and since 2010 he has been in charge of the Security and Intelligence section of the Crime and Security Branch.

Defence counsel objected to the claim of privilege over the Detective Chief Superintendent’s information and claimed that they were unable to properly cross examine him.

The court has heard that the seven men men accused of IRA membership were arrested after a garda swoop on a used car lot in west Dublin.

The court was told that gardai  who searched the area found cable ties. balaclavas, a Glock pistol, a baseball bat and pepper spray among other items.

The seven are: Kevin Braney (40), of Glenshane Crescent, Tallaght, Des Christie (50), of  Liam Mellows Road, Finglas, Hubert Duffy (47), of George’s Place in Dublin 1, William Jackson (55), of Dooncourt, Poppintree, Declan Phelan (33), of Lanndale Lawns, Tallaght, John Brock (42), of Glenview Park, Tallaght, and Darren Murphy (44), of Rory O’Connor House in Dublin 1.

All seven  have pleaded not guilty to membership of an illegal organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on March 29th, 2013.

The court has heard  that members of the Garda National Surveillance Unit observed the seven men at various locations in Finglas and Clondalkin on the morning of March 29th, 2013. Members of the Emergency Response Unit entered the yard of a used car sales lot in Clondalkin and arrested the seven men.

In follow up searches of two vans, an office and kitchen, gardai found cables ties, gloves, balaclavas, a baseball bat, a lump hammer, a pepper spray and a Glock pistol.

The accused were interviewed at various garda stations and some of them made no reply when questioned, some of them denied membership of the IRA and some of them gave answers to garda questions which were untrue.

The prosecution case against the men is relying on the sightings of the accused by the National Surveillance Unit, items found after their arrest, their responses to garda questioning and the opinion evidence of Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Kirwan.

The trial is continuing.

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