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'Real IRA' accused in court

Four Derry men accused of Real IRA membership were remanded in custody today after one of them turned up late at court.

Gary Donnelly, 28, of Kildrum Gardens, Michael Gallagher, 29, from Sackville Court, Martin Francis O'Neill, of Colmcille Court, and Patrick John McDaid, 38, from Marlborough Street, all denied membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, on March 16.

Their 20-day trial at Dublin's Special Criminal Court was adjourned until Thursday because the court heard additional evidence against the accused was served at a late date.

They were arrested during a garda operation into the activities of dissident republicans in Co Donegal.

Four BBC journalists investigating the Real IRA were also arrested by gardai probing paramilitary activity at the time. They were later released without charge.

This morning's brief hearing was delayed for a short time as O'Neill - who was the only man on bail - arrived at the city centre courthouse late.

Diarmuid McGuinness SC, for O'Neill, apologised to the court and told the three judge bench that his client had gone to the wrong court building as "he's never previously come here of his own esteem before."

Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding, replied: "There's only on way of ensuring attendance and that's to keep him in custody."

He remanded all four in custody until Thursday.

A large group of family members and supporters who travelled from Derry filled the court room and cheered as they were led away by guards.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph