No explosives found in car of RIRA accused, court hears

A Garda ballistics expert has told the Special Criminal Court that he found no evidence of any explosive substances in a car that had been stopped at gunpoint on the N4 near Mullingar.

A Garda ballistics expert has told the Special Criminal Court that he found no evidence of any explosive substances in a car that had been stopped at gunpoint on the N4 near Mullingar.

Detective Garda John Higgins also said that eight timing devices found in the boot of the red Peugeot estate car could not, in his opinion, be classified under law as an explosive substance.

He was giving evidence in the trial of three alleged Real IRA members, arrested after a major garda surveillance operation against the dissident terrorist organisation.

Adrian Kirwan (aged 25), a native of Ballymun in Dublin, with an address at Ardilaun Green, Ballymahon Road, Mullingar, Co Westmeath and Colum Wiggins (aged 24), of Annagry, Letterkenny, Co Donegal each pleaded not guilty to membership of an illegal organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on December 5 last year.

Sean Connolly (aged 26), of Bernard Curtis House, Bluebell, Dublin denied membership of an illegal organisation on December 14.

Det Gda Higgins told Ms Una Ni Raifeartaigh BL (with Mr Tom O’Connell SC) prosecuting that he did not believe the timers had previously been used to make an explosive device but that they had the capacity to be used in such a device.

He agreed with Mr Diarmaid McGuinness SC, for Colum Wiggins that there was no evidence that the timers had been modified in “any shape or form".

Earlier Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding at the three-judge court, dismissed an application by counsel for Mr Kirwan and Mr Wiggans, claiming that their clients’ constitutional rights had been breached during their arrest on December 5, 2004.

The case is due to continue tomorrow.

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