Two convicted of membership of illegal organisation

Two men arrested during a Garda investigation into the activities of dissident republicans were convicted by the Special Criminal Court today of membership of an illegal organisation.

Two men arrested during a Garda investigation into the activities of dissident republicans were convicted by the Special Criminal Court today of membership of an illegal organisation. Another man was acquitted of the charge.

Adrian Kirwan (aged 25), a native of Ballymun, Dublin, with an address at Ardilaun Green, Ballymahon Road, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, was convicted of membership of an illegal organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann, otherwise the IRA, on December 5, 2004.

Sean Connolly (aged 26) of Bernard Curtis House, Bluebell, Dublin, was also convicted of the same charge on December 14, 2004.

A third man, Colum Wiggins (aged 24), of Annagry, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, was acquitted of a membership charge.

Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding at the three-judge court, adjourned sentencing of Kirwan and Connolly until October 24.

The judge said the court accepted the opinion evidence of Detective Chief Superintendent Philip Kelly that Kirwan and Connolly were members of an unlawful organisation and this was view was corroborated by other evidence.

Clearing Wiggins, the judge said that the only evidence against him was the opinion of Chief Superintendent Noel White and this was not supported by other evidence.

During the trial the court heard that gardaí conducting a major surveillance operation against a dissident terrorist organisation stopped a car on the N4 outside Mullingar and arrested Kirwan and Wiggins. Connolly was arrested in Dublin later the same month.

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