Four IRA suspects refused bail

Four Dublin men arrested after an off duty Special Branch detective spotted suspicious activity in Bray, Co Wicklow last week were taking part in an IRA operation, the Special Criminal Court was told today.

Four Dublin men arrested after an off duty Special Branch detective spotted suspicious activity in Bray, Co Wicklow last week were taking part in an IRA operation, the Special Criminal Court was told today.

Detective Superintendent Peter Maguire said that gardai found balaclavas, a sledgehammer, pick axe handles, ties, hand held radios and a yellow fluorescent jacket with the word "Garda" in a van occupied by the four men.

The court refused bail for the four men and Mr Justice Richard Johnson, presiding, said the court accepted Detective Supt Maguire's evidence that the four men would commit further serious offences if granted bail.

They are Thomas Gilson (aged 22), of Bawnlea Avenue, Jobstown, Tallaght, Patrick Brennan (aged 38), of Lindisfarne Avenue, Clondalkin, Sean O' Donnell (aged 30), of Castle Drive, Sandymount, and John Troy (aged 20), of Donard Avenue, Dublin. A fifth man, Stephen Birney (aged 28), of Conquerhill Road, Clontarf, was refused bail on Wednesday.

All five are each charged with membership of an illegal organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on October 11. The five men were remanded in custody until December 13.

Opposing bail Detective Superintendent Maguire, of the Special Detective Unit, said that the men were observed acting suspiciously at Corke Abbey in Bray in the early hours of last Friday by an off duty SDU member, Detective Garda Michael Masterson.

When gardai from Bray arrived five men in a van were arrested and the van was searched. In the van gardai found a sledgehammer, two pick axe handles, eight plastic bags of ties, black balaclavaa, gloves, three rolls of masking tape, two screwdrivers, a yellow fluorescent jacket with the word "Garda" and four Motorola radio handsets.

Two of the accused, O' Donnell and Gilson , were wearing blue shirts and trousers similar to the uniform worn by gardai. Gardai found a stun gun and blue strobe light in a blue Nissan Almera car similar to the type of car used by plain clothes gardai.

Detective Superintendent Maguire said that he believed the four men were active members of an illegal organisation, the IRA, and would commit further offences if granted bail.

"I believe each accused was present at the scene of their arrest in his capacity as a member of an unlawful organisation," he added.

The Detective Supt said that he believed that the men were preparing to commit an offence at the time of their arrest and he believed that if granted bail each of them would continue to be active members of an unlawful organisation.

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