‘Puzzling’ TD letter noted as man jailed over Semtex find

Independent Dublin TD Maureen O’Sullivan wrote to the courts expressing dismay about the length of time a dissident republican spent in custody after being arrested in connection with the discovery of explosive devices in the run up to the Royal visit last year.
‘Puzzling’ TD letter noted as man jailed over Semtex find

Donal Ó Coisdealbha, aged 25, of Abbeyfield, Killester, Dublin, who admitted being a member of a dissident republican organisation, was sentenced to five and a half years in prison yesterday.

During the sentencing hearing at the Special Criminal court, Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy referred to a “puzzling” expression contained in Ms O’Sullivan’s letter that said that nothing was to be gained by prolonging his period on remand. The letter was dated from July of last year.

The court could only surmise, the judge said, that the content in the testimony came about in circumstances where the letter-writer was unaware of Ó Coisdealbha’s decision to plead guilty.

Ms Justice Kennedy went on to say that among the aggravating factors was Ó Coisdealbha’s use of his intellectual abilities and educational skills for nefarious ends.

He was arrested during a Garda operation which recovered explosive devices, improvised rockets, detonators, timing units and Semtex, days before the visit of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla to Ireland in May 2015.

Previously, Ms O’Sullivan, along with Independent TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace had offered to stand €5,000 bail for the young man, who works in the field of biomedics . He had been under audio and visual surveillance for five months prior to his arrest.

The three judge, non-jury court previously heard evidence gardaí found explosive device components in his workplace locker at Maynooth University.

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