Two and a half years’ jail for IRA membership

Two Limerick men have each received two-and-a-half year jail sentences for membership of the IRA last year.

The Special Criminal Court was yesterday shown three rocket launchers seized in the probe of the offence by 32-year-old Thomas McMahon, a former chef, and his co-accused, Noel Noonan, aged 35.

McMahon, of Ros Fearna, Murroe, and Noonan, with an address at St Patrick’s Hostel, Clare St, had each pleaded guilty to membership of the IRA on February 7, 2013.

Detective Superintendent Thomas Maguire testified that gardaí followed Noonan’s Peugeot from Limerick to Clonmel on the evening of February 4, 2013. Three men, including McMahon, were seen getting out of the car at Tivoli Rd and walking down onto a railway line.

The Garda National Surveillance Unit later found three launch tubes and two mortar drills for rockets on the rail track.

The Peugeot was seen in the same area three nights later, this time accompanied by McMahon’s Mercedes and McMahon himself was seen behind Noonan’s car.

The cars were later stopped, and three launch tubes and two mortar rockets were seized. The three tubes were shown to the court, each one more than a metre long and weighing 4.5kg.

“This operation was designed by members of the IRA to procure weaponry for the IRA,” Supt Maguire said.

Mr Justice Paul Butler said the appropriate sentence was four years imprisonment. However, the final year-and a half of each sentence was adjourned when the men each entered a €500 bond to not commit such offences in the future.


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