Tipp man testifies in Continuity IRA trial

A Tipperary man told the Special Criminal Court today that the front door of a house came down on top of him when gardai raided a house in Limerick where they suspected a meeting of the Continuity IRA was taking place.

A Tipperary man told the Special Criminal Court today that the front door of a house came down on top of him when gardai raided a house in Limerick where they suspected a meeting of the Continuity IRA was taking place.

Robert Mc Namara, who is treasurer of the Republican Sinn Fein cumann in Tipperary, said: "I was nearly the first member of Sinn Fein killed by a door in history."

Mc Namara was one of seven men arrested when gardai raided a house in Shanabooley Road in December 2001. He told his counsel Mr Louis O' Brien SC that he had been attending a Republican Sinn Fein meeting in the house.

He said that the meeting has just finished when he thought he heard shots and then bangs on the door. "I thought it was hooligans and I was walking towards the door and the door came in on top of me," he said.

Mc Namara said he was grabbed by the gardai and thrown into the front room and then arrested.

He said that references on an envelope found on him to "stabbing" and "lies" referred to backbiting going on inside the organisation. He said that a reference to "loose talk" on the envelope was also a reference to backbiting. Mc Namara denied that he was a member of an illegal organisation.

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 gardai 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 fifth 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 Mc Namara, (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 resumes next Tuesday.

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