Gardaí investigating dissident republican activity found cable ties in car

Gardaí investigating dissident republican activity in Co Donegal last February found cable ties in a car and arrested three men from the North, the Special Criminal Court in Dublin heard yesterday.

58-year-old Desmond Donnelly of Drumall, Lisnarick, Co Fermanagh, 46-year-old Gerard McGarrigle of Mount Carmel Heights, Strabane and 61-year-old Jim Murphy of Floraville, Enniskillen pleaded not guilty to membership of an illegal organisation, namely Oglaigh na hEireann, on February 22 last.

Opening the prosecution case Ms Una Ni Raifeartaigh Senior Counsel said that a darkly coloured Mercedes was stopped by gardaí at a checkpoint at Oldtown, Letterkenny shortly after midnight on February 22 last.

Gardai had a conversation with four men in the car and the men were asked for identification. When it was ascertained that the driver was the accused Desmond Donnelly, each of the four was told that they were being detained for the purpose of a search.

A search of the car revealed nine cable ties in the boot. When other gardaí arrived, including senior officers, each of the four men was arrested and conveyed to Letterkenny and Milford garda stations.

A full search of the car was carried out and other items were found including an imitation firearm, four pairs of gloves, a black beanie hat and black bin liners.

Ms Ni Raifeartaigh said that the court would hear the belief evidence of a Garda Chief Superintendent that each of the accused was a member of an unlawful organisation on the date specified in the charge.

The trial is continuing.