Gardai acting on confidential information used surveillance devices to listen to conversations at a private house, the Special Criminal Court heard today.
The trial opened of three people charged with membership of the IRA and two charged with assisting the IRA.
Prosecution counsel, Tara Burns SC, told the three-judge court that the evidence focuses on events at a private residence in Riverwood Park, Castleknock in Dublin on August 7th and 8th 2015.
She said they will hear evidence that the house had recently been vacated by its tenants and was being prepared for new tenants to move in. Someone asked the owner if he could have use of the house for his uncle and nephew for the weekend and the owner agreed.
Counsel said the court would hear of the comings and goings from that house over the two-day period where the five accused were observed by gardai and arrested on August 8th.
Kevin Hannaway (69) of Collin Mill, Belfast has pleaded not guilty to knowingly rendering assistance to an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA, namely with Sean Hannaway, assisting in interviewing persons involved in IRA organised criminal activities, said interviews being directly or indirectly in the furtherance of an unlawful object, at Riverwood Park, Castleknock, Dublin 15 on August 7th and 8th, 2015.
His co-accused Eva Shannon (60) of Oakman Street, Belfast pleaded not guilty to the same offence on the same dates.
Edward O’Brien (42), of Hazelcroft Road, Finglas, Dublin 11, David Nooney (53) of Coultry Green, Ballymun, Dublin 11, and Seán Hannaway (48) of Linden Gardens, Belfast pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation within the State, namely an organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on August 8th, 2015.
The three Belfast-based accused, counsel said, stayed in the house overnight while the other two were seen visiting. Other people visited or were brought to the house.
Mr Nooney, she said, was seen in a car in the vicinity of the house and on August 7 he took items from the boot of his car and brought them in to the house.
Kevin Hannaway, Eva Shannon and Sean Hannaway were seen entering the house carrying bags.
Besides the observations of gardai, Ms Burns said the court would hear evidence of conversations recorded inside the house by surveillance devices placed there after gardai received confidential information. She said these would show that interviews were conducted in the house with two men for the purposes of the furtherance of an unlawful objective.
In relation to Mr Nooney, she said there would be evidence that he is associated with members of an unlawful organisation and in relation to the three charged with membership of the IRA there will be inferences drawn from answers they gave to gardai which amount to a refusal to answer.
A garda chief superintendent will also give evidence that he believes the three were members of an unlawful organisation.
The trial continues tomorrow in front of Justice Isobel Kennedy, Justice Robert Haughton and Judge Gerard Griffin.
With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News
Two documents – in the form of an undisclosed ‘dossier’ and testimony marked ‘Restricted’ – confirm what many have long known or suspected: that the security services were informed well in advance of the bombing that took place at Omagh in 1998 and could have prevented it. Indeed, the scenario resembles but to a greater degree the events that led up to the earlier 1993 Shankill Road bombing in which the IRA operative who planned it was, in fact, an informant and who had warned his Special Branch and MI5 handlers of what was to happen (but the bombing was allowed to proceed). An undisclosed statement made by a British undercover agent to the 2011 Smithwick Inquiry alleges that details of the Omagh bombing were provided to UK intelligence via the RUC in advance. This statement – running to 24 pages and known informally as the ‘Hurst…
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Fergal McCusker’s mother Christina and members of her family. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin.
RELATIVES of a Co Derry man murdered by the LVF 20 years ago have said families across the community “deserve answers, truth and accountability”.
Fergal McCusker (28) was shot dead in Maghera as he made his way home from a night out on January 18 1998.
The callous attack, which came just weeks after the INLA’s prison killing of LVF leader Billy Wright, sent shockwaves across south Derry.
Mr McCusker, who was known as ‘Ricky’ to friends, was targeted in an alleyway near the town centre minutes after leaving friends to visit a takeaway.
No-one has ever been charged and there has never been an inquest.
Four men were arrested but were later released.
Mr McCusker was killed just months after the LVF gunned down prominent GAA member Sean Brown in nearby Bellaghy.
The Maghera man’s family believe there may be links between the murders and other sectarian killings in the area.
A member of Watty Graham’s GAA club, Mr McCusker had returned from America just two weeks before he was killed.
In a statement marking the 20th anniversary, his family said he was non-political and was “murdered simply because he was a Catholic”.
“This was a purely sectarian murder,” they said.
The family also said they believe collusion was a factor.
“They were state-run agents and collusion was a key feature of how they carried out attacks and murders.
“Their agenda was to break the emerging peace process and thwart any change for the better for everyone in this society.
“Thankfully they failed and the peace prevailed.”
However, they added that “the peace without justice for Fergal is somewhat bittersweet”.
“Families in our position from across the community deserve answers, truth and accountability,” they said.
The McCusker family say members of the killer gang were seen acting suspiciously in Maghera for at least an hour before the murder.
They also claim it was six hours before the RUC responded to calls about the body.
The victim’s 71-year-old mother Christina said the last time she was contacted by police was 19 years ago.
A 2009 Police Ombudsman report said it found no evidence of collusion.
It said the investigation was generally thorough but did identify several “major” failings.
This includes no record as to whether items that appear in crime scene photographs were seized or submitted for forensic examination.
It said police did not conduct an immediate search when the discovery of a body was reported “due to the possible threat of terrorist attack”.
The family’s solicitor Pádraig Ó Muirigh said there are “grave concerns” about the case and “the role of state agents in the murder”.
He also claimed that within days the RUC was aware of the involvement of “a notorious loyalist gang” and there was key intelligence in relation to a vehicle used by the suspects.
Superintendent Ian Harrison, deputy head of the PSNI Legacy Investigation Branch, last night said a review into the murder was begun by the Historical Enquiries Team but was not completed by the time of its closure in 2014.
“Consequently, the inquiry now sits within the caseload of Legacy Investigation Branch (LIB) for fresh consideration.
“Given the extensive caseload of LIB and limited resources available, I am not in a position to provide any firm timescale as to when work on the case will commence.
“It will be our intention, however, to notify the family of Mr McCusker once this happens.
“It remains our commitment that where credible investigative lines of inquiry are identified, capable of leading to the identification and prosecution of suspects, that we will follow them.”
With many thanks to: The Irish News for the origional story.
Follow this link to find out more:http://republican-news.org/archive/1998/January20/22ferg.html