Gardaí found firearms references, court hears

Gardaí raiding a house in Limerick where a suspected Continuity IRA meeting was taking place found a handwritten note containing references to firearms, "knee cap job" and "a safe house", the Special Criminal Court in Dublin heard today.

Gardaí raiding a house in Limerick where a suspected Continuity IRA meeting was taking place found a handwritten note containing references to firearms, "knee cap job" and "a safe house", the Special Criminal Court in Dublin heard today.

Detective Sergeant Declan Mulcahy, Henry Street, Limerick, told the court that the note began with "Pa Byrnes" and what appeared to be an "equal sign" opposite the words "two shotguns plus .23 and .38."

Underneath it read: "B Mc wanted for knee cap job".

Questioned by Mr Brendan Grehan BL prosecuting, Detective Sergeant Mulcahy said the next line appeared to be "38 by five rounds" followed by a reference to "Wayne Waters" and the words "shoot" and "one shotgun after house break".

The next line read "John McCarthy" opposite an arrow and then the words ".38, shotgun .22" followed by "shot at house Moyross .22"

Detective Sergeant Mulcahy said underneath that the words "who gave order" were written opposite a drawing which appeared to contain a pound sign and the figure £5,000 followed by - "for shooting".

The last line read: "Joe Benson safe house" with the figure £260 for TV video. The name "Desmond" was underlined twice at the bottom of the page.

The court has heard that seven men were arrested when a large party of gardaí raided a house in the Shanabooley Road area of Limerick in December 2001.

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.

The state's case is that the unlawful organisation in question is the Continuity IRA.

Cross-examined by Mr John Phelan SC for the accused Des Long, Detective Sergeant Mulcahy said that at a briefing prior to the raid, officers were advised to wear flak jackets and carry firearms.

Officers were told that "an IRA meeting in progress" at the house. This was based on intelligence.

Counsel put it to the witness that they were told to expect "a dangerous bunch of desperados armed to the teeth", yet no guns were found in the house.

That was the intelligence, the witness replied.

Counsel then suggested that the intelligence was poor and the gardai were given "a bum steer".

After all the "high jinks and keystone cops stuff" there was no guns in the house.

"Were you surprised there were no guns?" counsel asked.

"I was happily surprised, My Lords" the witness replied.

"Were you disappointed there were no guns in the house?"

"No My Lords".

It was the fourteenth 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, aged 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 McNamara, 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 ever trial of dissident republicans ever held at the Special Criminal Court.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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