A Detective Sergeant who led a garda raid on a suspected Continuity IRA meeting in Limerick denied at the Special Criminal Court today that shots had been fired during the swoop.
Detective Sergeant John Heelan denied suggestions by defence counsel that up to six shots were fired before a large party of gardai entered the house at Shanabooley Road.
He told Mr John Phelan SC, counsel for one of the accused Des Long: "There were no shots fired.''
The court has heard that seven men were arrested when a large party of gardai raided a house in the Shanabooley Road area of Limerick in December 2001.
Prosecuting counsel Mr John Edwards SC has told the court that gardai found a note in the house which referred to firearms and had other references to a person "wanted for knee cap job" and to a "safe house.'' He said the unlawful organisation in the case was the Continuity IRA.
Chief Superintendent Gerard Kelly gave evidence earlier in the trial that in his opinion, each of the seven accused was a member of an unlawful organisation on December 17, 2001.
It was the 10th day of the trial of the seven accused who have pleaded not guilty to a charge that on December 17, 2001, within the State, they were members of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise the IRA, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann.
They are Des Long (age 62), Vice President of Republican Sinn Fein, of Shannon Banks, Limerick, Patrick Kenneally (aged 58), of Crusheen, Co Clare, Patrick O' Shea (aged 54) of Sir Harry's Mall, Limerick, Gerard "Ger" Brommell (aged 43), of Rostura Crescent, Woodview Park, Limerick, Robert Mc Namara (aged 59), of St Michael's Avenue, Tipperary, Joseph "Tiny" Lynch (aged 61), of Beechgrove Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, Limerick and Christopher Dunne (aged 28), of Donnellan Buildings, Rosbrien, Limerick.
It is the biggest trial of dissident republicans ever held at the Special Criminal Court.
Detective Sergeant Heelan told the court that after searching Des Long in the kitchen he went out the back door and saw three men who had been detained by the gardai lying on the ground. They were the accused - Lynch, Dunne and Brommell.
The Detective Sergeant said that he told each of them that he had a search warrant and asked each of them who was in charge.. Lynch and Dunne made no reply but Brommell replied that he was and Detective Sergeant Heelan said he then showed him the search warrant which he read.
Cross examined by Mr Phelan, the Detective Sergeant denied that gardai had fired three shots in the air before entering the house.
He said that another detective had used a sledgehammer "almost immediately" after he had knocked on the door to smash down the front door.
Cross examined by Mr Donagh Mc Donagh SC for Kenneally, Detective Sergeant Heelan agreed that he wanted to gain entry as fast as possible but he denied that he had acted outside the authority of the search warrant.
Cross examined by Mr Martin Giblin SC, for O' Shea, the Detective Sergeant denied that six shots, in two groups of three, had been fired by gardai before they entered the house.
The trial is continuing.