Two Dublin men charged with IRA membership at Special Criminal Court after cross border probe

Two Dublin men charged with IRA membership at Special Criminal Court after cross border probe
Police and army bomb disposal experts dealing with a bomb that had been attached underneath a car that had been driven into Shandon Park Golf Club in east Belfast in June. The device was spotted by someone leaving the course. An army bomb disposal team had carried out a controlled explosion and cleared the device for further study. Picture: Alan Lewis

Two Dublin men have appeared before an out-of-term sitting of the non-jury Special Criminal Court this evening charged with IRA membership.

Paul Casey (49) and Robert O’Leary (41) were both arrested in Dublin yesterday morning by members of the Special Detective Unit (SDU) as part of a cross-border investigation in connection with the discovery of a car bomb under a police officer's car in Belfast in June.

Mr Casey, of Carton Court, Ballymun, Dublin 11, and Mr O’Leary with an address at Clancy Road, Finglas, Dublin 11, are both charged with membership of an unlawful organisation, styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise the Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA, on August 20, 2019.

This offence is contrary to section 21 of the Offences against the State Act 1939 as amended by section 48 of the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005.

Detective Sergeant Eileen Keogh, of the SDU, gave evidence of the arrest of Mr Casey.

Det Sgt Keogh told State Solicitor Ciara Vibien that at 4.57pm today she arrested Mr Casey at Londonbridge Road in Dublin 4 and detained him pursuant to Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act for the offence of membership on August 20, 2019.

The detective said that, at the time of the arrest, she believed Mr Casey had committed the offence for which she had arrested him.

Det Sgt Keogh testified that she informed the accused man that he was to be brought before the next sitting of the Special Criminal Court. She explained to him the reason for his arrest in ordinary language before cautioning him. Mr Casey made no reply and was conveyed to Irishtown Garda Station, she said.

The three-judge court further heard that the detective met Mr Casey in the precinct of the Special Criminal Court this evening, where she handed him a copy of the original charge sheet which was explained to him. Det Sgt Keogh said she again explained the charge in ordinary language to the accused man and cautioned him, to which he made no reply.

Mr Casey, who appeared before the court wearing a navy t-shirt and dark trousers, stood as requested when the court registrar read the charge to him.

Counsel for Mr Casey, Jane Horgan-Jones BL, applied for legal aid and said there was no objection to this application.

Detective Sergeant Steven Martin, also of the SDU, told Ms Vibien that he identified himself to Mr O’Leary at 4.50pm today and then arrested him at Londonbridge Road, Dublin 4.

The detective said that, at the time of the arrest, he believed Mr O’Leary was a member of an unlawful organisation.

Det Sgt Martin said he informed Mr O’Leary that he was to be brought before the next sitting of the Special Criminal Court where he would be charged with the offence for which he was arrested for.

The detective said he brought the accused man to Irishtown Garda Station, where he introduced him to the member in charge.

Det Sgt Martin said he met Mr O’Leary in the confines of the court this evening and handed him a copy of the charge sheet, which he read over and explained to him. The witness said he again cautioned the accused man and he made no reply to the charge.

Two Dublin men charged with IRA membership at Special Criminal Court after cross border probe

Mr O’Leary, who appeared before the court wearing a pink t-shirt and jeans stood as requested when the court registrar read the charge to him. Asked if he was Mr O’Leary, he replied: “I am yeah”.

Counsel for Mr O’Leary, Mark Lynam BL, said his client owns his own business and employs a number of people so he would need to take instructions for legal aid purposes.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt, sitting with Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge Sinead Ni Chulachain, remanded the two men in custody until Monday, when bail applications are expected to be made.

On June 1, a bomb was found under the car of a serving police officer at Shandon Park Golf Club in east Belfast. A tournament, which was being held at the golf club, was cancelled and around 70 people were evacuated.

The device was declared to be a "viable improvised explosive device".

The bomb was discovered a short distance from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) headquarters and dissident republican group, the New IRA, claimed responsibility for the attack at the time.

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