Judge grants Kildare man bail on IRA membership and explosives charges

A Kildare man charged with IRA membership and the possession of explosive substances has been granted bail at the Special Criminal Court.

James Brennan (aged 44) of Rosconnell Avenue, Newbridge, and his co-accused Joseph Kirwan (aged 39), of Closelands, Ballybrittas, Co Laois, were arrested last week in Newbridge, Co Kildare by members of the Special Detective Unit as part of on-going investigations in to the activities of dissident republicans.

At a special sitting of the Special Criminal Court on Saturday night both men were charged with the possession of explosive substances, including six complete casings for a plate-type pipe-bomb, a Parva welder, a grinder and grinder blades, welding masks, lengths of steel and other materials at Mr Brennan’s home on February 28, 2013.

Mr Brennan, a father-of-three, was also charged with membership of an unlawful organisation within the State styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on the same date.

Counsel for Mr Brennan, Mr Mark Lynam BL, told the non-jury court that there was no objection from the State to bail for his client - which was not being taken up - provided a number of conditions were met, including that bail be subject to an independent surety of €20,000.

He said that Mr Brennan must sign on daily at a local garda station, reside at his home address and observe a curfew between 11pm and 7am.

Mr Brennan must surrender his passport and cannot leave the jurisdiction, including travel to Northern Ireland.

He must provide a mobile phone number to gardaí and ensure that this phone is in operation at all times and is the sole number used by him, and he is not to associate with any person charged with or convicted of a scheduled offence.

Mr Brennan cannot contact any proposed prosecution witnesses in the case and is to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler said the court would also grant applications for legal aid and for second counsel for Mr Brennan after no objection was lodged by the prosecution.

There was no application for bail on behalf of Mr Kirwan, however Mr Justice Butler granted an application for legal aid.

Mr Justice Butler, sitting with Judge John Hagan and Judge Flannan Brennan, directed that both Mr Brennan, who was remanded in custody with consent to bail, and Mr Kirwan, who was remanded in custody with liberty to apply for bail, appear before the court again on April 17.

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