Munster Real IRA leadership jailed

The leader of the Real IRA in Munster was jailed for five years and nine months, his second in command was jailed for four years and three other members of a Real IRA active service unit were given sentence ranging from three years to four years at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin today.

The leader of the Real IRA in Munster was jailed for five years and nine months, his second in command was jailed for four years and three other members of a Real IRA active service unit were given sentence ranging from three years to four years at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin today.

The court jailed Ciaran ``Kiwi '' O' Dwyer for five years and nine months, his second in command Ultan Larkin for four years, Gerard Varian for three years, John Murphy for four years and Aidan O' Driscoll for three years for membership of an illegal organisation.

The men were convicted of the charges last week after a 20 day trial.

Jailing the men Mr Justice Richard Johnson, presiding, said: "The court is satisfied that each of the accused was an active member of the Real IRA, a dissident organisation that is not on ceasefire. The court views these charges very seriously.''

Superintendent James Browne told the court last week that Ciaran ``Kiwi'' O' Dwyer was the officer commanding the Real IRA in Munster and in charge of operations in Cork and Limerick.

The Superintendent said that Ultan Larkin was O' Dwyer's second in command and he added: "He is not a foot soldier.

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 26) of Glenheights Park, Ballyvolane, Cork.

They were all convicted of membership of an illegal organisation styling itself Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the Irish Republican Army, otherwise the IRA on December 15, 2003.

Last week Detective Superintendent Tony Quilter, Anglesea St, Cork told the court that men belonged to the group know as the Real IRA and that Varian, O' Driscoll and Murphy were an active service unit of that organisation based in Cork city.

Superintendent James Browne said that Ciaran O' Dwyer was convicted of IRA membership in 1973 and was jailed for a year then. He was also jailed in 1990 for twelve years for possession of 40,000 rounds of ammunition, seven AK 47 assault rifles, a handgun and Semtex and was released in 1995 as part of the Good Friday Agreement.

"Since then he has been a leading light in the Real IRA in the Munster area and is in charge of operations in Limerick and Cork," he added.

Assistant Commissioner Jerry Kelly gave evidence during the trial that he believed the accused Larkin and O' Dwyer were members of an illegal organisation. Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Mc Andrew gave evidence that he believed Varian, Murphy and O' Driscoll were each members of an illegal organisation.

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