Defendant denied guns were discussed at alleged Cont IRA meeting

One of seven men arrested at a suspected meeting of the Continuity IRA in Limerick, denied that guns were discussed at the meeting, the Special Criminal Court heard today.

One of seven men arrested at a suspected meeting of the Continuity IRA in Limerick, denied that guns were discussed at the meeting, the Special Criminal Court heard today.

Detective Garda Eileen O’Shea, Henry Street, told the court that she questioned one of the accused, Robert McNamara, about a note containing references to guns and a knee-capping which was seized at the meeting.

Detective Garda O’Shea said Mr McNamara had replied: "There was no discussion of guns at that meeting."

The court has heard that the seven were arrested when a large party of gardai raided a house in the Shanabooley Road area of Limerick in December 2001 at which the suspected Continuity IRA meeting took place.

Detective O’Shea said when asked about whether references on the note to a "knee cap" indicated a paramilitary-style knee-capping, the accused replied: "I know nothing about it. It was a Sinn Fein meeting."

The witness agreed with Mr Louis O’Brien SC for the accused that at all times Mr McNamara denied being a member of the IRA and said the meeting was a Republican Sinn Fein meeting.

Detective Garda Donal Gleeson also gave evidence of having interviewed Robert McNamara. He told the court that he questioned the accused about an envelope found in his possession when he was arrested which contained the words "lies", "stabbing" and backbiting".

Detective Garda Gleeson said the accused had told him the word lies referred to "people telling lies, not working or doing their Sinn Fein business properly".

When asked what stabbing referred to, the accused said "people back stabbing in the organisation".

Detective Gleeson told the court that the accused denied suggestions that he was at the meeting as a member of the IRA and also "denied all knowledge" of the note seized at the meeting.

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 on Tuesday.

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