Two men charged with IRA membership
Two Dublin men have been charged with IRA membership along with firearms and ammunition possession at the Special Criminal Court this evening. One of the men was also charged with possession of an explosive substance.
Stephen Hendrick (47) of Balbutcher Drive, Ballymun and Pierce Moran (59) of Church Road in East Wall had been arrested at their homes over the weekend by detectives from the Special Detective Unit.
Each man was charged with membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on Saturday last November 15th.
Additionally, Mr Hendrick was charged with the unlawful possession of firearms at his home on the same date. The alleged firearms included a Kalashnikov pattern assault rifle, a Glock ammunition magazine, and a Glock slide plus firing pin and associated mechanism.
He was also charged with possession of ammunition on the same occasion. The alleged ammunition included 125 rounds of ammunition for use with the Kalashnikov rifle and five shotgun cartridges.
The fourth charge against Mr Hendrick related to the unlawful possession of an explosive substance on the same occasion, specifically flexible tubing filled with PETN.
Detective Garda Colm Finnerty testified that he had arrested Mr Hendrick, who was dressed in a grey jumper in court.
He said that he had entered Mr Hendrick’s home under warrant on Saturday afternoon. He said that a search began and he arrested him 10 minutes later.
Mr Hendrick made no reply to caution, he said.
Pierce Moran was charged with the unlawful possession of firearms at his home on November 15th. The alleged firearms in his case were four semi-automatic pistols and a semi-automatic, sawn-off shotgun.
He was also charged with the unlawful possession of assorted ammunition on the same occasion.
Detective Garda Brian Power testified that he had arrested Mr Moran, who wore a black and blue jacket in court.
He testified that he had arrested him at his home on Saturday afternoon. He said that when he cautioned him before the court sat, the accused replied: ‘No comment’.
Both men declined to stand while the registrar read the charges to them.
The three-judge court agreed to deal with the case following an application by State Solicitor Liam Mulholland. Mr Mulholland said that Mr Hendrick was on bail on another matter and asked for both men to be remanded in custody.
Helen-Claire O’Hanlon BL, defending Mr Hendrick, said that an application for legal aid might be made on another occasion.
Mr Moran was granted legal aid after no State objection to an application by his barrister, Philipp Rahn BL.
The court granted defence requests for tapes of the accused men’s garda interviews and remanded them in custody until Wednesday November 26th, when they will appear by video link. Both men were told to inform the registrar before then if they wished to apply for bail