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IRA suspect has served time for heroin dealing

AN alleged IRA man arrested after a massive operation by the Special Detective Unit at the weekend is a convicted heroin dealer.

Eamon McNamee (32), who was previously sentenced to five years in jail over a major drugs haul, is one of eight men charged at the Special Criminal Court on Sunday evening with membership of the IRA.

McNamee's arrest on suspicion of being a member of the IRA follows several statements from the organisation that it planned to weed out criminality and drug dealing in its ranks.

 

Public

Since the murder of Dublin Real IRA terror boss Alan Ryan last September, the IRA has given a number of public briefings, including one to the Herald, where it stated that it was attempting to "clean up" the organisation in terms of criminality.

A source said: "They say they hate drugs, but what does this show?

"This is hypocrisy on a grand scale, to say the least.

"So much for their so-called clean-out of criminals – the very least that can be said is that some men that gardai believe are senior members of the IRA have been closely associating with a well-known drug dealer.

"And what's more, this convicted dealer is now on the best-known IRA jail wing in the country."

All eight Dubliners arrested last Friday, including McNamee, are currently on the IRA's E3 landing in Ireland's highest security prison at Portlaoise.

McNamee and the seven others were arrested after a search of a commercial premises in Clondalkin, as part of a garda investigation into the activities of dissident republicans.

The Herald has also learned that McNamee was arrested earlier this year by detectives investigating the apparent punishment shooting of Alan Ryan's close friend 'Fat Deccy' Smith, who was shot in the leg in Saggart, south Dublin, in January.

 

Controversy

He was later released without charge. Belfast man Smith is understood to be still recovering from his injuries.

But what has caused the most controversy is McNamee's drugs background, which led him to be sentenced to five years in Mountjoy Prison.

In November 2009, at Trim Circuit Court, McNamee of Larkfield Square, Lucan, admitted having heroin for sale, which had been hidden behind a panel in a cattle trailer and was worth more than €100,000.

Gardai had the trailer under surveillance at an industrial estate in Trim, Co Meath, on March 15, 2008. They arrested McNamee at about 6.10am, 40 minutes after he was seen going into the trailer carrying a torch and a ratchet device.

Det Sgt Greg Sheehan told the court he could hear the noise of screws being taken off the trailer and drugs were found behind a corner panel where cattle would draw water.

Gardai found more than 500g of diamorphine, with a street value of about €100,000. He told gardai he was there by accident and had been looking for diesel for his truck.

The court heard he began binge drinking and taking cocaine after his newborn baby died in 2005. He had no previous convictions and pleaded guilty at an early stage in the court proceedings. He also had the support of his partner and family.

A co-accused in the drugs case – Paudie Greene of Talbot Court, Trim – was sentenced to 10 years, which was later reduced to five years on appeal.

kfoy@herald.ie


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