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Man pleads guilty to role in dissident's IRA murder

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Peter Butterly was shot dead

Peter Butterly was shot dead

Peter Butterly was shot dead

A man yesterday pleaded guilty to helping the IRA murder a dissident republican gunned down in front of terrified school students.

Michael McDermott (59) had been on trial at the non-jury Special Criminal Court since early October after pleading not guilty to the murder of Peter Butterly (35).

Mr Butterly was chased and shot outside the Huntsman Inn in Gormanston, Co Meath, in view of students waiting for their school bus on the afternoon of March 6, 2013.

Unlawful

Yesterday, Paul O'Higgins SC, prosecuting, told the court that McDermott was to be recharged on a scheduled offence under Section 49 of the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005.

McDermott, of Riverdale House, Garrymore, Ballinagh, Co Cavan, admitted to knowingly rendering assistance to an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA, directly or indirectly, in the performance or furtherance of the murder of Peter Butterly.

The defendant had also denied possession of a 9mm Beretta semi-automatic pistol with intent to commit murder, and possession of seven rounds of 9mm ammunition on March 5, 2013, at Blackthorn Apartments, Brackenwood Avenue, Balbriggan, Co Dublin.

Mr O'Higgins asked that a "nolle prosequi" be entered on the murder and gun and ammo charges, meaning the State will not proceed with them.

Padraig Dwyer SC, defending McDermott, told the judges that there was now a "fresh charge" and his client had obviously entered an early guilty plea.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey, presiding, remanded McDermott in custody until January 28, when he will be sentenced.

McDermott was on trial alongside Frank Murphy (58) and Kevin Braney (43), who deny the same three original charges.

Hugh Hartnett SC, defending Mr Murphy, of McDonough Caravan Park, Bettystown, Co Meath, told the court his client, who was taken ill on Thursday, had been released from hospital but would not attend court on Monday. The prosecution said the trial will go on against Mr Braney, formerly of Tallaght.

Bernard Condon SC, for Mr Braney, said he will be making an application for the court to discharge themselves as well as seeking an adjournment for the trial in light of what had happened with regard to McDermott.

The trial continues.


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