Reserved judgement in trial of three men arrested in Letterkenny for dissident activity

The Special Criminal Court in Dublin has reserved judgment in the trial of three Northern Ireland men arrested during a garda investigation into dissident republican activity who are accused of IRA membership.

Ms Una Ni Raifeartaigh SC, for the State, has told the court that the prosecution case was not solely reliant on the belief evidence of a garda Chief Superintendant, but consisted of different “strands” of evidence which weighed against the accused men.

Ms Ni Raifeartaigh said that items found in a car used by the men, including an imitation firearm, latex gloves and cable ties, assisted in proving their membership of an unlawful organisation.

She also said that this evidence, taken in conjunction with the men’s failure to answer material questions in interview and witness evidence contradicting their claims of having travelled to Donegal to seek work at a nightclub, demonstrated the prosecution had proven its case against each man beyond a reasonable doubt.

46-year-old Gerard McGarrigle of Mount Carmel Heights, Strabane, 58-year-old Desmond Donnelly of Drumall, Lisnarick, Co Fermanagh, and 61-year-old Jim Murphy of Floraville, Enniskillen, have each denied membership of an illegal organisation styling itself on the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, on February 22 last.

The court heard that the three men were arrested at a garda checkpoint outside Letterkenny in the early hours of February 22. The accused men told gardaí that they had driven to Letterkenny in the hope of securing security work at the Golden Grill nightclub.

Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding, said the court would give its verdict in the case at a later date.