Four years for IRA men 'up to no good'

Irish Independent
22 Feb 2005

FIVE Dublin men were each jailed for four years by the Special
Criminal Court yesterday for membership of the Provisional IRA.

The five men are Thomas Gilson (24), of Bawnlea Ave, Jobstown,
Tallaght; Patrick Brennan (40), of Lindisfarne Avenue, Clondalkin;
Sean O'Donnell (32), of Castle Drive, Sandymount; John Troy (25), of
Donard Avenue and Stephen Birney (31), of Conquerhill Road, Clontarf.
They had all denied membership of the IRA on October 11, 2002.

Jailing the men, Mr Justice Diarmuid O'Donovan, presiding, told
them: "The mind boggles as to what you were up to. Whatever it was,
we are quite sure that it was up to no good and it was associated
with your membership of the IRA."

The court jailed each of the men for four years but suspended the
final two months to take into account time they had already spent in

There was applause from the packed public gallery after the sentences
were handed down and as the men were led from the dock to the cells

Earlier Chief Superintendent Peter Maguire told the court that all
the men were members of the Provisional IRA and were attached to that
organisation's Dublin Brigade and answerable directly to the

During the 24-day trial the court heard that the five men were
arrested after an off duty Special Branch detective, Detective Garda
Michael Masterson, noticed suspicious activity around three vehicles -
a Nissan Almera car, a Nissan Micra car and a transit van.

The court heard that gardai recovered a large quantity of Sinn Fein
posters, including election posters for Sinn Fein TD Aengus O
Snodaigh, from a Nissan Almera car in which they also found a stun
gun, a CS gas canister, a blue flashing light and beacon after the
men's arrest.

Gardai also found two pick axe handles, a lump hammer, three portable
radios, cable ties, balaclavas and a fake garda jacket in the transit
van and four of the men were found seated on the floor of the van.
Two of the men, Gilson and O'Donnell, were dressed in fake garda

Detective Chief Superintendent Philip Kelly, of the Special Detective
Unit, told the court that, based on confidential information from
inside and outside the gardai, he believed each of the men were
members of the IRA.

Diarmaid MacDermott

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