Garda report: Accused had no links with dissidents, court hears

A report drafted by a senior detective concluded that a Donegal man on trial for IRA membership had no association with any republican or dissident group for as long as ten years, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

A report drafted by a senior detective concluded that a Donegal man on trial for IRA membership had no association with any republican or dissident group for as long as ten years, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Philip McGavigan (aged 49), of Coneyburrow, Lifford has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation, namely the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA, on February 2, 2010.

Detective Garda Trevor Moore agreed with Mr Thomas O’Connell SC, for the State, that he was charged with preparing a report on McGavigan in which he concluded that it was “fair to say” that the accused man had no association with any republican or dissident personnel over the past five or ten years.

However Det Gda Moore, who has been stationed in Lifford garda station for 30 years, stressed that the report was based on his personal opinion and his local knowledge only, and he told Mr O’Connell that he did not have access to any PSNI reports or national garda intelligence documents when preparing the report.

The court heard yesterday that McGavigan was arrested at the scene of a garda operation outside an isolated house near Ballybofey, which had earlier been evacuated after detectives received confidential information that an “event” would take place there.

McGavigan had driven and parked a green Opel Corsa along the rough laneway leading up to the house, while two individuals, who were never apprehended, got out of the car and approached the dwelling.

The court heard evidence that after a sweep of a field close to Mr Cole’s house, gardaí discovered a sawn-off double barrel Baretta shotgun, a loaded Smith & Wesson .38 calibre revolver, a balaclava and other items of clothing.

The trial, which is expected to last two weeks, continues in front of presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler.

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