Real IRA case collapses
Real IRA case collapses

The trial of four men charged with membership of the breakaway `Real IRA' has collapsed after documents were mislaid by a senior garda police detective.

The charges were withdrawn at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin yesterday against four men from County Armagh, including missing Armagh city man Gareth O'Connor. A murder investigation was launched after Mr O'Connor's disappearance.

Defence lawyers requested a mistrial because they were unable to test the credibility of the main prosecution witness, Chief Superintendent Colm Rooney, in the absence of original case documents.

The four men were originally arrested near the border in County Monaghan in November 2002.

The three Armagh men who were released are Cathal Loughran, Dominic Dynes, and Aidan Grew. Grew had been accused of being the Real IRA's leader. Two of his brothers were shot dead in `shoot-to-kill' incidents in 1982 and 1990.

The men had claimed they had been set up for arrest by Mr O'Connor.

Michael Gallagher of the Omagh Victims' Group suggested the case may have been deliberately collapsed by the Garda police.

``The Omagh families are calling for a speedy and transparent inquiry to establish whether this trial failed as a result of incompetence or collusion,'' he said.

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