Corkman denies IRA membership charge

A Corkman arrested on suspicion of membership of an illegal organisation had tattoos including the Irish flag and Oglaigh na hEireann on his arms, the Special Criminal Criminal Court heard today.

A Corkman arrested on suspicion of membership of an illegal organisation had tattoos including the Irish flag and Oglaigh na hEireann on his arms, the Special Criminal Criminal Court heard today.

Garda Fergal Lucey said when he examined Aidan O' Driscoll at Mayfield Garda Station in December 2003 he found a tattoo of the Irish flag on his right arm and on his left arm two Irish flags with the words Oglaigh na hEireann and Saoirse.

Garda Lucey, who was member in charge at Mayfield at the time, was giving evidence on the 12th day of the trial of three Corkmen 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 Inspector John Quilter told the court he carried out six interviews with O'Driscoll at Mayfield Garda Station on December 15 and 16, 2003.

He said that when asked about membership of an illegal organisation, O' Driscoll replied: "I am not a member of an illegal organisation, never was and never will be."

O' Driscoll denied knowing anything about a rucksack found near Glanmire in Co Cork in 2001 which contained 169 rounds of ammunition and assorted documents, including one entitled "General Head Quarters, General Army Orders, revised spring 1999."

Detective Inspector Quilter said that O' Driscoll remained silent when he was asked about 19 of his fingerprints which were found on one of the documents in the rucksack.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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