Two denied IRA membership on arrest, court told

Two men accused of membership of an unlawful organisation said they were not and never would be members of the IRA, the Special Criminal Court heard today.

Two men accused of membership of an unlawful organisation said they were not and never would be members of the IRA, the Special Criminal Court heard today.

Three men from Cork and two from Limerick have denied membership of an illegal organisation.

The five men are Ciaran O' Dwyer, aged 50, of Castletroy View, Limerick, John Murphy, aged 25, of Ashburton House, Kilbarry, Old Mallow Road, Cork, Ultan Larkin, aged 34, of The Bungalow, Farranshone, Limerick, Gerard Varian, aged 46, of Bride Valley View, Fairhill, Cork and Aidan O'Driscoll, aged 25, of Glenheights Park, Ballyvolane, Cork.

They have all pleaded not guilty to membership of an illegal organisation styling itself as Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the Irish Republican Army, otherwise the IRA on December 15, 2003.

The court today heard evidence of the arrest and detention of O'Driscoll and Varian.

On the morning of December 15, Detective Inspector John Quilter was part of the search team sent to O'Driscoll's house.

Nothing of "evidential value" was found in the house, but O'Driscoll was arrested on suspicion of being a member of an unlawful organisation styling itself as Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the Irish Republican Army, otherwise the IRA.

Det. Insp Quilter said on his arrest, O'Driscoll replied: "I am not a member, I never was and I never will be," the court heard.

On the same date, Varian was arrested and detained at Togher Garda Station in Cork.

During one of four garda interviews, Varian denied he was a member of the IRA.

"I'm not a member of the IRA. My own daughter was killed by joyriders. I wouldn't be a member of anything like that," he said in the interview.

Counsel for Varian, Mr Fergal Kavanagh SC, submitted that the arrest and detention of his client was unlawful due to the validity of the warrant for his arrest.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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