Cork man charged with IRA membership

18/02/2005 - 15:51:58

Thousands of pounds were found hidden in a washing powder box by police investigating IRA money laundering, a court heard today.

The money was discovered in a backpack on the back seat of a car when police detained three men near Dublin’s Heuston railway station, the court was told.

Chief Superintendent Phillip Kelly of the Garda Special Technical Unit based in Dublin told the Special Criminal Court that €94,000 (£60,000) was concealed in a Daz washing powder box.

Mr Kelly told the court three men were arrested in the Northern Ireland registered Jeep vehicle, and six mobile phones were also found in the car.

One of the men, Don Bullman, from Fernwood Crescent, Leghanamore, Wilton, Co Cork, was today charged at the Special Criminal Court with IRA membership in connection with the find.

Bullman, a chef in his thirties, was arrested on Wednesday shortly after 3pm under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act, the court was told.

Detective Sergeant Roy Corcoran of the Special Detective Unit told the court Bullman was taken to Clondalkin station for questioning.

Bullman was informed he would be brought before the Special Criminal Court to answer a charge of IRA membership, the court heard.

Mr Corcoran told the court Bullman understood the charges.

Bullman replied “Nothing to say” when he was informed of the reason for his arrest and detention, he said.

The court was told Bullman, a father of three, worked 70 hours a week in two different jobs, as a chef in a nursing home and catering in pubs and clubs across Co Cork.

Mr Kelly told the court forensic teams were examining the cash and the mobile phones recovered at the scene.

He said fingerprint tests were being carried out on the washing powder box and the vehicle was also being examined.

The court heard a powdery substance recovered from the floor of the Jeep was also being tested.

Mr Kelly said he believed the money found in the vehicle was related to a major IRA money laundering operation.

“I suspected that from the money found that it was part of a money laundering operation on behalf of the IRA,” he told the court.

Mr Kelly told the court that at the time of the arrest he had a certain opinion of Bullman gleaned from Garda briefing documents.

“I have known about Mr Bullman’s activities prior to his arrest,” he told the court. “I’m not going to reveal confidential information, but I would have known for a long time, My Lords. I’ve known about Mr Bullman’s activities for a long time.”

Mr Kelly said that to date, forensic examination and fingerprint tests on the money, the washing powder box and the mobile phones had proved inconclusive.

Officers have been instructed to carry out further examinations, the court was told.

Mr Kelly denied he had leaked information about Bullman to the media ahead of the court hearing.

“It’s not part of my job, My Lords,” he told the court.

Bullman was remanded in custody to appear before the court at midday on Monday.

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