Nine men arrested after gardaí swooped on a suspected Continuity IRA training camp in Co Waterford in 2003 pleaded guilty to firearms offences at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin today.
During a bail hearing in August, 2003 one of the men told the court that the men were deer-stalking in advance of the new hunting season but gardaí said they were taking part in a training camp in the Comeragh mountains.
Today, Patrick Deery (aged 53), of Woodhouse, Stradbally, Co Waterford, Joseph Mnooney (aged 36), of Ozzier Court, Co Waterford, John O' Halloran (aged 34), of Ross Avenue, Mulgrave St, Limerick, Mark Mc Mahon(aged 36), of Commodore Barry Park, Wexford, Patrick J. Kelly (aged 37), of Belvedere Grove, Wexford and Dean Coleman (aged 23), of Clarina Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, Limerick pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of a American model rifle at Knocknaree, Knockatedaun, Ballmacarbry, Co Waterford on August 3, 2003.
Thomas Barry (aged 21), of Larchville, Lisduggan, Co Waterford and Brian Galvin (aged 38), of Ardmore Park, Ballybeg, Co Waterford pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of a Baikal under and over shotgun at Ballymacarbry, Co Waterford on the same date.
Michael Leahy (aged 23), of Mc Carthyville, Abbeyside, Dungarvan, Co Waterford pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of a sawn-off single barrel shotgun at Ballmacarbry, Co Waterford on the same date.
During a bail hearing in August, 2003 Joseph Mooney told the court that the men were stalking deer and asked if this necessitated wearing a balaclava, he replied that he needed to cover up so the deer would not spot him. Detective Superintendent Liam King told the same hearing that that he believed the men were attending a Continuity training camp. He also said that gardaí recovered firearms, ammunition, balaclavas and a makeshift firing range at the location.
The court remanded Deery, Galvin, O' Halloran, Barry and Coleman in custody and the other four men on bail until February 22 next when it will hear evidence before sentencing.