'A fine intelligent and hardworking young man' - TD defends IRA man caught with explosives ahead of Prince Charles' visit
Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan has stood over her defence of a Real IRA member, whom she described as a “fine, intelligent, articulate and hardworking young man".
Donal O’Coisdealbha (25), of Abbeyfield, Killester in Dublin 5, pleaded guilty to membership of a dissident organisation and was sentenced to five and a half years in prison in the Special Criminal Court yesterday.
He was arrested in connection with explosive devices found in the run up to Prince Charles’ state visit.
Ms O’Sullivan penned a letter to the judge last July to object at the amount of time O’Coisdealbha has been on remand for.
This morning she said she was one of a number of TDs involved in prisoner’s issues and also knew him personally.
“What I wrote in the letter I can stand over. I also made the point in the letter that this is very regrettable what had happened and the situation he was in,” she told RTÉ's Morning Ireland.
“It was in no way trying to interfere in judicial process.”
“The concern was length of time people being left on remand without being brought to court,” she added.
The north inner city TD also said she was certain if given a chance O’Coisldealbha would go on to live his life in a “positive, kind way”.
“I suppose from conversations I’ve had with him, I feel that this is something in his life that he regrets and that he would like to put behind him and to be a good member of society,” she said.
She said she was not aware that the man, who worked in a biomedical company, at NUI Maynooth would be pleading guilty at the time she wrote the letter.
Both she and Mick Wallace among others had agreed to stand bail for the Dubliner prior to writing the letter.
She said it was “very disturbing” that the letter was being construed as an endorsement of violence.