Dublin men convicted of IRA membership

18/11/2004 - 13:07:43

Two Dublin Sinn Féin members were convicted at the Special Criminal Court today on charges of IRA membership.

The court heard during an eight-day trial that gardaí found a list of TDs, including three former Ministers for Justice, at the home of one of the men, Niall Binead.

Niall Binead, also known as Niall Bennett (aged 35), of Faughart Road, Crumlin, Dublin, and Kenneth Donohoe (aged 26), of Sundale Avenue, Mountain View, Tallaght, Dublin, were both convicted of membership of an illegal organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann, otherwise the IRA on October 10, 2002.

The two were remanded in custody for sentencing on November 30 next. Convicting the men, Mr Justice Diarmuid O' Donovan, presiding, said that the court did not doubt Detective Chief Superintendent Philip Kelly's evidence that he believed that each of the accused was a member of the IRA.

Det Chief Supt Kelly is the head of the Special Detective Unit.

The judge said that the documentation found during searches of the accuseds' homes, when taken in conjunction with the chief superintendent's evidence, and the fact that the accused had refused to answer material questions when interviewed by the gardaí was supportive that the men were both IRA members.

The court was told that the two men were arrested after gardaí arrested five men following suspicious activity around a number of vehicles in Corke Abbey, Bray on October 10, 2002.

Inside a transit van gardaí found four men as well as a sledgehammer, a pick axe handle, radios and a black balaclava. In a Nissan Almera car with false number plates they found a blue flashing beacon, a Long Kesh baseball cap, a stun gun , a canister of CS gas and a roll of masking tape.

The transit van was traced to its owner, who is a Sinn Féin member and who had made it available for election purposes on the night in question. Donohoe was arrested later that month and Binead was arrested in December of that year.

During the trial the court that a document - a cigarette paper - was found in a small briefcase at Binead's home. The document contained the names of the late Jim Mitchell, Des O' Malley and John O' Donoghue as well as the names of other politicians.

Detective Sergeant Joe Devine said that the document was headed: "Politicians". It listed Jim Mitchell, Fine Gael; Des O' Malley, Progressive Democrats; John O' Donoghue, Fianna Fáil; and said "drinking in Rathgar".

It went on to list :"Jim Mc Daid, Donegal, Fianna Fáil and Brendan 'Rambo' Mc Gahon, Fine Gael", adding:"backing horses in Paddy Powers just off Grafton St., Lemon St, just off Bewleys café".

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