Accused denied Real IRA involvement, court hears

A Cork man accused of Real IRA membership denied to gardai that he was a member of the IRA or of anything connected to it, the Special Criminal Court heard today.

A Cork man accused of Real IRA membership denied to gardai that he was a member of the IRA or of anything connected to it, the Special Criminal Court heard today.

The court was told that Gerard Varian told gardaí during interviews in December 2003: "I deny any membership of the IRA or any part of it. I want nothing to do with it.''

Detective Sergeant John Cahill said that during six interviews Varian denied membership of an illegal organisation and had answered all questions put to him by the gardaí.

He was giving evidence on the 11th day of the trial of three Cork men and two Limerick men who 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 45), 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 Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the Irish Republican Army, otherwise the IRA on December 15, 2003.

Prosecuting counsel Mr John Edwards SC has said the five men were allegedly members of the Real IRA.

Detective Sergeant Cahill said that Varian had denied knowing five people who had been arrested and charged in connection with an arms find in Blarney , Co Cork in 2002. "I heard ages ago on the news about the arms find," he told gardaí.

Cross examined by Varian's counsel Mr Feargal Kavanagh SC, Det Sgt Cahill agreed that Varian had answered around 270 questions put to him by the gardaí and he also agreed that Varian had not adopted "anti interrogation techniques" during the interviews.

Detective Sgt Cahill said that on one occasion when Varian denied any connection to violence he said that his daughter "was nearly killed". The Detective Sergeant said he had not made further inquiries about what had happened his daughter.

Mr Kavanagh said: "I have to suggest that his daughter was nearly killed by some thugs and he had a complete abhorrence for physical violence" and the Detective Sgt replied:``That's what Mr Varian states.''

The trial is continuing.

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