Nine jailed over firearms training camp

Nine men who were arrested after gardaí swooped on a suspected Continuity IRA training camp in the Comeragh mountains were jailed by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin today.

Nine men who were arrested after gardaí swooped on a suspected Continuity IRA training camp in the Comeragh mountains were jailed by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin today.

The court was told that gardaí discovered four guns, a makeshift firing range and targets when they raided a clearing in the Comeragh mountains. They found four men at a firing point being given instructions by two others and three men armed with shotguns acting as sentries, the court was told.

Gardaí who had been observing the training heard up to 60 shots being fired, including rifle and small-arms fire.

The men jailed today are Patrick Deery (aged 53), a native of Claudy, Co Derry, with an address at Woodhouse, Stradbally, Co Waterford; Joseph Mooney (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, who pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of a American model rifle in suspicious circumstances at Knocknaree, Knockatedaun, Ballmacarbry, Co Waterford, on August, 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 in suspicious circumstances 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.

Deery was jailed for six years to date from August, 2003. Mooney was also jailed for six years. O' Halloran, McMahon and Kelly, who were at the firing point, were each jailed for five years.

Barry and Coleman were each jailed for four years in view of their age and Galvin and Leahy were each jailed for five years.

Mr Justice Richard Johnson, presiding, said the court was satisfied that all nine accused came together at a well-organised training camp to train in the use of firearms for a subversive or unlawful purpose.

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