Man on trial for IRA membership had ‘republican’ posters in TV unit, court hears

A Monaghan mechanic on trial for IRA membership was found to have a number of ‘republican’ posters in his TV unit, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

James Joseph Cassidy (55) of Tullycollive, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan, has pleaded not guilty to being a member of an unlawful organisation styling itself as the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann, otherwise the IRA, within the State on September 21, 2016.

James Joseph Cassidy, of Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan, leaving court on Tuesday. Picture: Collins Courts.

Giving evidence at the non-jury Special Criminal Court today, Detective Sergeant Oliver Flaherty, of the Special Detective Unit, told the court that he was involved in the search of Mr Cassidy’s premises and adjoining lands on September 21, 2016.

Det Sgt Flaherty, told John Byrne BL, prosecuting, that he found a black metal pipe, about 40cm in length, with drilled holes in a shed. It was found on the floor in a small space between the rear of a vat or box and the wall. It would not have been visible to anybody walking into the shed, he said.

Detective Inspector William Hanrahan, of the SDU, gave evidence to Mr Byrne, that he had previously seen similar tubing in relation to "other IRA operations". It was a booster tube, the detective inspector said.

Det Sgt Padraig Boyce, of the SDU, gave evidence to Mr Byrne that he was present for the search and found a number of posters in a TV unit of the sitting room.

The posters contained a slogan which referenced the Police Service of Northern Ireland as well as the address of a website republicanunity.com.

Under cross-examination from Padraig Dwyer SC, for the defence, Det Sgt Boyce agreed that the group ‘Republican Unity’ were not a proscribed organisation.

He said he didn’t know if the group ‘Republican Unity’ produced the posters but that their website address was on them.

The trial continues on Friday before Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding alongside Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Ann Ryan.

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Opening the trial on Tuesday, Paul Greene SC, prosecuting, said gardaí discovered a “water booster tube” during a search in and around Mr Cassidy's family home and sheds which he owned or had access to.

Mr Greene said there would be evidence of this device's similarity to one seized during another prosecution in Kilcurry, an area “not very far away from where we are talking about”.

He told the court that the Tullycollive area is “an unusually remote” part of Monaghan overlooking the border into Armagh and accessed by a minor road.

Counsel said gardaí found the gated property to have had a “high degree of security” with a number of St Bernard dogs “who behaved rather aggressively”. He said investigators discovered “extensive security lighting” activated from the accused man's bedroom.

Mr Greene told the three-judge panel that gardaí also found three mobile phones and “items of Republican paraphernalia” that would be exhibited in the trial.

He said there would also be evidence of Mr Cassidy's association with a number of convicted IRA members and people of a group called the Republican Network Unity (RNU).

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