Brian Walsh and Darren Polean plead “guilty” to offences linked to bomb found in Derry hotel.

Two men from Co Meath have admitted to terrorist offences linked to the discovery of a bomb at a Londonderry hotel which was due to host a PSNI recruitment event.

Darren Polean, who is 42 years old and from Lightown in Drumbaragh, and 34-year-old Brian Walsh from Culmullen in Drumree, appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Thursday.

Barristers for both men asked that they be re-arraigned on offences arising from the discovery of explosives at the Waterfoot Hotel in Derry in October 2015.

The pair initially faced, and denied, four charges leveled against them.

After pleading guilty to two offences,the remaining two charges faced by Polean and Walsh were left on the books, and are not to be proceeded with.

After the court clerk read a charge of possessing an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property on October 6, 2015, she then asked both men how they pleaded.

Both men replied “guilty”.

They also admitted a charge of possessing articles for use in terrorism, on the same date, ‘in circumstances which give rise to a reasonable suspicion that their possession was for a purpose connected to the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism’.

The articles in question include a Satellite Navigation System, bolt cutters, a balaclava, binoculars, assorted gloves, handheld two-way radios, disguises, a head torch and plastic adhesive tape.

When this charge was put to the two men,they again replied “guilty”.

Crown barrister Terence Mooney QC told Judge Geoffery Miller QC that the pleas “satisfied the interests of justice” and agreed to leave the remaining two counts on the books.

They were possessing explosives in suspicious circumstances, and conspiring to cause an explosion.

Karen Quinlivan, representing Walsh, said she was seeking both a pre-sentence report and a medical report ahead of sentencing.

Judge Miller remanded both men back into custody and confirmed a plea and sentence hearing will be held at the same court on 7 September.

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News.

Taken from UTV News

Michael Connolly, Co. Louth “Guilty” on IRA membership charges.

A 44-year-old Louth man has been convicted of IRA membership by the Special Criminal Court.

Michael Connolly, of Grange Drive in Dundalk, had been observed driving in convoy with another man, who was then found with two improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Connolly had pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation, styling itself Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the Irish Republican Army, otherwise the IRA on December 16th, 2014.

The three-judge, non-jury court had heard that Connolly and another man were seen together in the Ardee area that morning. They left the same house at the same time in two cars, and were then observed at a service station in Clonmellon, before both cars travelled in convoy to Mullingar.

The two men were later stopped by members of the Special Detective Unit on the N52 and two IEDs were found in a brown paper bag in the other man’s car.

There was also telephone contact between the two men that morning.

The judges had heard that the accused had failed to answer material questions when interviewed under a provision that allows for inferences to be drawn from such a failure.

The court had also heard ‘belief evidence’ from Garda Assistant Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan that Connolly was a member of the IRA at the time.

The prosecution had argued that Connolly and this man had engaged in a joint enterprise on the day.

The defence had argued that there was no other evidence to support the belief evidence and asked for an acquittal.

However, Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge John O’Hagan and Judge Flann Brennan delivered a guilty verdict this morning.

Justice Hunt said the court accepted beyond reasonable doubt the veracity of the belief evidence, which had been informed by a review of information held by gardai.

It was also satisfied that the accused was the driver of the same car at all times that morning and had travelled in convoy with another man to a house in Mullingar. It was satisfied that the other man had collected the improvised devices there and that the accused was a willing and knowing participant in this enterprise.

The judge then addressed the possibility that he was operating in some capacity other than as a member of the IRA that morning.

Although Connolly had consistently denied being a member during his interviews, the court noted that he had stayed silent following specific questions. Justice Hunt said that it was proper to draw inferences from this, and that the silence corroborated the other strands of evidence.

He was convicted and remanded in custody for sentencing on July 10th.

With many thanks to: Irish Republican News.

Special non-jury diplock court to rule on whether IRA membership case will proceed.

The judges at the Special Criminal Court trial of a Louth man accused of IRA membership will rule tomorrow on whether the case can go any further.
Michael Connolly (44) of Grange Drive in Dundalk, County Louth, has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation, styling itself Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the Irish

Republican Army, otherwise the IRA on December 16th, 2014.
It is the prosecution’s case that Mr Connolly was observed by Gardaí driving in convoy along the N52 with a man who was later found with two improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Mr Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, today made an application to the court for a direction that the evidence was insufficient and contained “internal frailties”.
Mr Hartnett said that when the prosecution opened the case, Fiona Murphy BL told the three-judge, non-jury court that it would hear evidence from Garda Assistant Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan of his belief that Mr Connolly was a member of the IRA on the date in question.
The barrister said there were “defects” in relation to the assistant commissioner’s opinion and this opinion was now “flawed”.
Mr Hartnett added that Ms Murphy also said in her opening speech that supporting evidence for the assistant commissioner’s belief would come in a number of forms. Mr Hartnett said evidence had been given of Mr Connolly being present at commemorations and demonstrations in the company of people who had previously been convicted of crimes before the Special Criminal Court.
The barrister said the court could not find, even on the balance of probabilities, that the presence of Mr Connolly at these events was a sign of him being a member of an unlawful organisation.
Mr Hartnett said another piece of evidence relied on by the prosecution was the finding of two IEDs in a brown paper bag in the front passenger footwell of another man’s car.
The court previously heard that the two men were seen together in the Ardee area, leaving the same house at the same time in two cars, and then at a service station in Clonmel, before both cars travelled in convoy to Mullingar.
The barrister said there was no evidence before the court that his client had possession of or knowledge of this material.
Prosecuting counsel, Fiona Murphy BL, said the assistant commissioner’s evidence had to be viewed in its entirety.
“The prosecution case is that Mr Connolly was acting in concert with with [another man]. He is also associating with people in the open air who have been convicted of IRA membership,” said Ms Murphy.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding with Judge John O’Hagan and Judge Flann Brennan, told counsel that what Mr Hartnett had pointed to was of “sufficient substance” and if there were to be closing speeches they would be dealt with tomorrow.

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News.

More ridiculous membership charges today as Gardaí continue to abuse their postion.


Darren Gleeson was today arrested and charged with IRA membership at an out-of-hours court sitting 
A Dublin man has been charged with IRA membership at an out-of-hours sitting of the three-judge Special Criminal Court.
Darren Gleeson (34), with an address at Corduff Green, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, is charged with membership of an unlawful organisation, to wit an organisation styling itself as the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA, within the State on May 18, 2017.
Mr Gleeson was arrested and brought before the non-jury Special Criminal Court this evening and charged with the offence.
Detective Garda Sean Finnegan, of the Special Detective Unit, told the three-judge court that he identified himself to Mr Gleeson at 15.50pm on Mellows Road, Finglas today and arrested him under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.
Det Gda Finnegan said he conveyed Mr Gleeson to Finglas Garda Station. He said the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed that Mr Gleeson be brought before the next sitting of the Special Criminal Court.
Det Gda Finnegan said he met with Mr Gleeson in the confines of the Criminal Courts of Justice building today, handed him a copy of the charge sheet and explained the charge to him. Mr Gleeson made no reply.
Wearing a blue and black Adidas tracksuit top and grey tracksuit bottoms, the accused stood up and said “yes” when asked if he was Darren Gleeson.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding alongside Judge John O’Hagan and Judge Flann Brennan, remanded Mr Gleeson in custody to May 25 next when an application for bail is expected to be made.

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News.

Garda did not see any alleged attempts to “extract” IRA accused through car window.


A Special Detective Unit garda has said he did not see any alleged attempts to extract a Louth man accused of IRA membership through a car window during his arrest.
Detective Garda Paul Cornish, of the Special Detective Unit (SDU), was responding to a suggestion by Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, that there had been attempts made to remove the accused Michael Connolly (44) through a Fiat Punto’s window.
Det Gda denied that the word “extracted” in his statement meant something more than opening the car door, saying he had been “facing forward” as driver of an unmarked garda vehicle and didn’t see Mr Connolly exit the Punto.
Mr Connolly, of Grange Drive in Dundalk, County Louth, has pleaded not guilty at the Special Criminal Court to membership of an unlawful organisation, styling itself Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the Irish Republican Army, otherwise the IRA on December 16th, 2014.
It is the prosecution’s case that the accused was observed by gardai driving in convoy along the road with a man who was later found with two improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Det Gda Cornish told Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, that he had been briefed about alleged IRA activities involving the movement of firearms and explosives in December 2014.
The detective said he was driving an unmarked garda car when he and colleagues stopped two vehicles travelling in convoy on the Ardee Road on December 16, 2014.
He reiterated under cross examination that the word “extracted” had the same meaning as “taken out of” or “removed from” in his understanding.
The non-jury trial resumes on Monday in front of Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge John O’Hagan and Judge Flann Brennan.

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisioner News.

IRA accused made no response to certain material questions, trial hears.

The Special Criminal Court trial of a Monaghan man charged with IRA membership has heard memos of garda interviews with the accused.

Jim Smyth (44), with an address at Aghalissabeagh, Scotstown, County Monaghan has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organization, styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA, on November 25th, 2015.
Opening the prosecution case on Monday, Shane Costello SC, for the DPP, said the court will hear evidence that on the day of the alleged offence, a few hours before Mr Smyth was arrested, there was a meeting convened by senior gardai at Monaghan garda station.
He said that Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Maguire, of the Special Detective Unit, briefed the other officers on confidential information in relation to the activities of Mr Smyth, and that an operation was put into effect that night.
The court will hear that gardai went to land around two derelict houses at Knockatallon, County Monaghan.
The barrister said that Detective Garda Alan O’Connor will give evidence that he observed the accused man getting out of a car and walking up a “dark, muddy laneway” at approximately 9:25pm.
The court will also hear evidence that Detective Sergeant Gerry Doherty encountered the accused man and arrested him.
Another part of the prosecution case will be interviews conducted with Mr Smyth under Section 2 of the Offences Against the State Act, portions of which were read into evidence today.
The section allows a court to draw inferences from a suspected person’s failure or refusal to answer questions regarding alleged IRA membership.
Mr Costello said the court will hear that with regard to certain questions, Mr Smyth said he was not a member of the IRA but with regard to specific items found after the arrest he declined to answer.
Reading portions of Mr Smyth’s interviews with gardaí into evidence today, Anne-Marie Lawlor BL, stated Mr Smyth replied “no” when asked by gardaí if he was a quartermaster in the IRA.
During interview seven conducted on November 27, 2015, Mr Smyth made no response when asked whether a particular laneway accessed an IRA storage dump.
When asked if he accessed a particular shed in his capacity as a member of the IRA, Mr Smyth made no response.
When asked if he was responsible for storing items in the shed, he made no response.
When asked whether particular houses were used as a forward operating base for attacks in Northern Ireland, Mr Smyth made no response.
When asked whether the houses were used as a rendezvous point, he made no response.
Mr Smyth was reminded that he was being asked questions material to alleged membership of an unlawful organisation and a judge or jury may draw inferences and treat a failure to answer questions as corroboration. When asked if he understood, he made no response.
The trial resumes tomorrow in front of Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, presiding, sitting with Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin and Judge James Faughnan

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News.