Accused was discussing commemoration, court told

A Limerick man told the Special Criminal Court today that he was at a Republican Sinn Fein meeting discussing a forthcoming republican commemoration when gardaí raided a house in the city.

A Limerick man told the Special Criminal Court today that he was at a Republican Sinn Fein meeting discussing a forthcoming republican commemoration when gardaí raided a house in the city.

Gerard "Ger" Brommell said that the meeting at a house in Shanabooley Road was held to discuss the forthcoming Sean South commemoration, and the selling of RSF's paper and calendars.

He denied a suggestion by prosecuting counsel Mr John Edwards SC that there was no such meeting and that a Continuity IRA meeting had taken place in the front room of the house.

"We were in the back room and it was a meeting of Republican Sinn Fein," he said.

Brommell, a roadsweeper with Limerick Corporation, also said that he was "only a small fry" in RSF.

He said that the RSF meeting had also discussed putting up a candidate in forthcoming local elections and had discussed putting up Michael Ryan, the owner of the house at Shanabooley Road, as a candidate.

When Mr Edwards suggested that Mr Ryan would first have to join RSF, Brommell commented: "In our party of we can get a candidate to go forward we are lucky. If we can get one like this we would be delighted."

Brommell admitted that he had run out the back door when gardaí broke down the front door to enter the house.

"When I heard the noise which I thought was gunfire I was gone out the back door as fast as I could. I panicked," he said.

He denied a suggestion by Mr Edwards that he was trying to fell apprehension by the gardaí because he knew they had been raided in the course of an IRA meeting.

The court has heard evidence from Chief Superintendent Gerard Kelly that he believed each of the accused was a member of an illegal organisation on December 17, 2001.

The prosecution has claimed that the Chief Superintendent's evidence was corroborated by a note found during a search of a house in Limerick which referred to firearms.

The court has heard that the seven accused were arrested when a large party of gardaí raided a house in the Shanabooley Road area of Limerick in December 2001 where a suspected meeting of the Continuity IRA was taking place.

It was the forty forth day of the trial of seven men 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 59, 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 62, of Beechgrove Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, Limerick and Christopher Dunne, aged 28, of Donnellan Buildings, Rosbrien, Limerick.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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