Belfast Telegraph

South Armagh farmer denies drumming up support for IRA in churches

By John Cassidy

A south Armagh farmer is to stand trial next year on charges of membership of the Provisional IRA and addressing meetings on behalf of the banned terror group.

Sean Gerard Hughes (52), of Aghadavoyle Road, Jonesborough, appeared in the dock of Belfast Crown Court yesterday for an arraignment hearing.

He pleaded not guilty to a charge that he addressed a meeting in Clonard Monastery in west Belfast to encourage support for the IRA in February or March 2005. He also denied a similar charge of addressing a meeting at Holy Cross Church in Ardoyne around the same time.

Hughes, who stood in the dock flanked by a single prison officer, pleaded not guilty to a charge that in early 2005 he professed to belong to a proscribed organisation, namely, the IRA. He denied a fourth charge of belonging to a proscribed organisation in 2005.

A co-accused in the case, Padraic Wilson (55), of Hamill Park, Andersonstown, west Belfast, will be arraigned next week, the court heard.

He faces two charges of addressing meetings for the purpose of support for the IRA and two of belonging to and professing to be a member the IRA.

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