Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Alleged dissident taken to hospital

A suspect arrested in probe over dissident activity needed hospital attention, it has emerged

One of five men charged over alleged dissident activities spent seven hours in hospital being treated for injuries after being arrested by gardai, it has been claimed.

Barry O'Brien, 38, sported a cut on his forehead as he was brought before Dublin's Special Criminal Court charged with being a member of the Continuity IRA and possessing a 12 gauge sawn-off shotgun.

His solicitor James McGuill told the non-jury court that O'Brien, of Oaktate, Stonetown, Dundalk, Co Louth, spent seven hours in Our Lady of Lourdes hospital with head and arm injuries that required stitches after gardai arrested him during the swoop in Co Louth on Sunday.

The three-judge court granted a request from Mr McGuill to release the video tape of a garda interview with O'Brien.

The court heard that when O`Brien was formally charged with being a member of an unlawful organisation, namely the IRA, and the unlawful possession of a firearm, he replied: "I am not a member of the IRA."

His solicitor said his client would be pleading not guilty and that an application would be made for bail and legal aid during the next hearing.

O'Brien was among five men brought before the court over the swoop.

Neil Smith, 32, of Tubberfinn, Donore, Drogheda, was charged with membership of the Continuity IRA; Eamon Lennon, 34, of Drumganny, Iniskeen, Co Monaghan, was accused of being a member of the Continuity IRA and possessing a sawn-off 12 gauge shotgun; Paul Maguire, 24, of Drumleek South, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, was charged with the unlawful possession of a 12 gauge sawn-off shotgun; and 53-year-old Des Ryan, of Tubberfin, Donore, Drogheda, was accused of being a member of the Continuity IRA and unlawfully possessing the same style of shotgun.

Six vehicles, guns and ammunition and components of an explosive device were seized in follow-up raids in counties Louth and Monaghan. The haul is being examined by ballistics and forensics experts.

The three-judge court remanded all the men in custody to appear before the court again on August 17.

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