Garda denies Republican Sinn Fein 'harassment' claims in trial

A detective garda who took part in a raid on a house in Limerick where a suspected Continuity IRA was taking place, today denied that gardai "hassled" members of Republican Sinn Fein.

A detective garda who took part in a raid on a house in Limerick where a suspected Continuity IRA was taking place, today denied that gardai "hassled" members of Republican Sinn Fein.

Det Garda Eileen O’Shea, Henry Street, told the Special Criminal Court in Dublin that before the raid, gardai were briefed on the identities of five men who were in the house that night. Mr Michael Bowman BL for the accused Patrick O’Shea put it to the witness that four were known to her as members of Republican Sinn Fein. "That is correct", the witness replied.

The detective garda gave evidence of having arrested Robert McNamara at the house. She told the court she took an envelope from him containing the words "lies", "stabbing", "accepted money from" and the figure 25.

Det Garda O’Shea said gardai had expected trouble but agreed that they had not met "the anticipated restraint" from the occupants of the house.

She rejected suggestions by Mr Brendan Nix SC for the accused Joseph ‘Tiny’ Lynch that gardai –with no prior instructions – had arrested people "willy nilly".

"I do not consider any arrest will nilly" Det Garda O’Shea replied.

Ms Grainne McMorrow SC for Christopher Dunne asked the witness if her duties included monitoring Republican Sinn Fein.

"I monitor certain people who are connected" to Republican Sinn Fein.

"And give republicans a "hard time" and hassle them?" counsel continued.

"No My Lords," Det Garda O’Shea replied, "I never hassled anyone".

Det Garda O’Shea was giving evidence on the sixteenth day of the trial of the of seven men who were arrested when a large party of gardai 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.

Each of the seven accused 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 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.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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