Replica firearm was found in car stopped by Gardai in Letterkenny

A replica firearm was found in a car in which three men from the North charged with membership of the IRA where travelling when arrested, the Special Criminal Court has heard yesterday.

Gardaí also uncovered other items after a search of the vehicle, including cable ties, latex gloves and insulation tape.

58-year-old Desmond Donnelly of Drumall, Lisnarick, Co Fermanagh, 46-year-old Gerard McGarrigleof Mount Carmel Heights, Strabane, and 61-year-old Jim Murphy of Floraville, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh have each denied membership of an illegal organisation, namely Oglaigh na hEireann.

The court heard that the three men were arrested at a garda checkpoint outside Letterkenny in the early hours of February 22 last.

Garda Derek Connaughton told Ms Una Ni Raifeartaigh SC, for the State, that on the afternoon of February 22 he carried out a search of the dark navy coloured Mercedes C220 car in which the three men were travelling in prior to their arrest.

In addition to the “G10 repeater” replica pistol found in the rear passenger seat foot-well, Garda Connaughton told the court he also uncovered three pairs of latex gloves and one pair of “heavy-duty motorcycle gloves” in the front of the car, while black plastic bin-liners, a roll of black insulation tape and a woolly hat with “Ireland” embroidered on it were found in the rear.

He said that nine black plastic cable-ties and a Nike brand holdall were found in the boot of the car.

The trial continues in front of the three judge court, with Mr Justice Paul Butler presiding.