Prosecution case begins in dissident republican trial

Gardaí investigating dissident republican activity in Co Donegal last February found cable ties in a car and arrested three men from the North, the Special Criminal Court in Dublin was told today.

Desmond Donnelly (aged 58) of Drumall, Lisnarick, Co Fermanagh, Gerard McGarrigle (aged 46) of Mount Carmel Heights, Strabane, Co Tyrone and Jim Murphy (aged 61) of Floraville, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, pleaded not guilty to membership of an illegal organisation styling itself on the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on February 22 last.

Opening the prosecution case Ms Una Ni Raifeartaigh S.C. said that a darkly coloured Mercedes was stopped by gardaí at a checkpoint at Oldtown, Letterkenny, Co Donegal around 12.30am on February 22 last.

Gardaíi had a conversation with four men in the car and the men were asked for identification. When it was ascertained that the driver was the accused Desmond Donnelly, each of the four was told that they were being detained for the purpose of a search.

A search of the car revealed nine cable ties in the boot. When other gardaí arrived, including senior officers, each of the four men was arrested and conveyed to Letterkenny and Milford garda stations.

A full search of the car was carried out and other items were found including an imitation firearm, four pairs of gloves, three pairs of which were black latex, a black beanie hat and black bin liners.

Ms Ni Raifeartaigh said that the court would hear the belief evidence of a Garda Chief Superintendent that each of the accused was a member of an unlawful organisation on the date specified in the charge.

The trial is continuing.

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