Court is told Lifford man had no IRA connections for up for 10 years

A Lifford Garda detective has claimed he doesn't think a local man charged with being a member of the IRA has had any connection with any republican group for at least ten years.

49-year-old Philip McGavigan, of Coneyburrow, Lifford has pleaded not guilty to membership of the IRA, on February 2, 2010.

Detective Garda Trevor Moore said 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.

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 the 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.