Men failed to answer questions regarding suspected IRA activities, Special Criminal Court hears

By Daniel Hickey

Two Dublin men accused of IRA membership failed to answer detectives' questions about suspected dissident activity, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Kevin Braney (aged 44), with an address at Glenshane Crescent, Tallaght, Dublin 24 and Ciaran Maguire (aged 30), of Kippure Park, Finglas, Dublin 11, have both pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on August 2, 2017.

It is the prosecution's case that one of two accused men told another man in Co Meath that they were the IRA and if he did not drop a claim against a former employer the next time they saw him they would shoot him.

The defence are objecting to the admissibility of the interviews, so the court heard evidence today in voir dire - or a "trial within a trial"- in order to make a ruling on the issue.

Detective Garda Brian Power, of the Special Detective Unit, told prosecuting counsel Fiona Murphy BL that he interviewed Mr Maguire on August 2 last year at Finglas garda station.

Later, Detective Sergeant Carrie O'Connor said that she interviewed Mr Braney on the same date.

The court heard that both detectives invoked Section 2 of the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act, 1998. This section allows a court to draw inferences from a suspected person's failure or refusal to answer questions regarding alleged IRA membership.

Neither of the accused men answered any of the questions, the court heard.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge Flann Brennan, said the court will rule on the matter tomorrow morning.

The trial continues.

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