Men charged with IRA membership after firearm seizure

Two men have appeared before the non-jury Special Criminal Court this evening charged with IRA membership and the possession of a semi-automatic pistol in south Dublin.

Michael Finlay (aged 35) and Dean Byrne (aged 22) were arrested by members of the Special Detective Unit and the garda Crime and Security branch after an operation in Tallaght in Dublin 24 yesterday morning.

Mr Finlay, of Maplewood Road, Tallaght, and Mr Byrne, of Drumcairn Park, Tallaght, came before the three-judge court where they were both charged with membership of an unlawful organisation within the State styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on June 5, 2014.

The men were also charged with the unlawful possession of a 9x18mm calibre Makarov PM semi-automatic pistol and magazine and 10 rounds of 9x18mm BR calibre Sellier & Bellot ammunition at Glenshane Crescent, Tallaght on June 5, 2014.

Detective Garda Rory Geelon told State Solicitor Mr Liam Mulholland that he formally arrested Michael Finlay shortly before 4:00pm this afternoon outside Tallaght Garda Station.

He told Mr Mulholland that at the time he believed the accused man, who appeared before the court wearing a black t-shirt and black trousers, had committed the offences for which he was arrested.

Det Gda Geelon said that when he again met Mr Finlay in the precincts of the court this evening (Friday) and cautioned him, the accused man replied “no comment”.

Detective Colin Barker gave evidence to the court of the arrest and caution of Dean Byrne, who appeared before the court wearing a navy hoody and black trousers. He said Mr Byrne made no reply to the charge after caution.

There was no application for bail on behalf of either of the men, however presiding judge Mr Justice Paul McDermott approved applications for legal aid and a second counsel for both accused.

Mr Justice McDermott, sitting with Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley and Judge Margaret Heneghan, remanded both men in custody to appear before the court again on June 16.

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