Irish Republican News · December 5, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
‘Derry 4’ in court

Four Derry men who were arrested during a Garda police operation into a “Real IRA show of strength” for members of the media near the Derry/Donegal border last March have finally appeared in the Special Criminal Court in Dublin.

The four men are Gary Donnelly, Michael Gallagher, Martin Francis O’Neill and Patrick John McDaid and are facing the charge of membership of the IRA.

Three of the men had been held on remand for almost nine months in what supporters had said amounted to a form of internment.

Prosecuting counsel Patrick Marrinan said that the principal evidence would be the opinion of chief superintendent Terry McGinn of Letterkenny that each of the accused was a member of an unlawful organisation on the date in question.

He also told the court that gardai mounted an operation along the Derry/Donegal border after receiving confidential information that the ‘Real IRA’ were to meet with representatives of the media in the Donegal area.

“The information suggested that this meeting was intended to be a show of strength by the IRA and that a firearm or firearms would be shown to members of the media,” he said.

He said that evidence would also be presented of photographs and recordings which showed three men wearing balaclavas being interviewed by members of the media.

The 20-day trial opened on Tuesday but was adjourned until Thursday because the court heard some evidence was served late.

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


Meanwhile, prominent republican Gerry McGeogh was remanded on bail awaiting trial on a murder charge relating to an IRA attack in 1981. However, the charge against his co-accused, Vincent McAnespie, has been dropped.

Both men had been jointly accused of a gun attack on a ranking member of the Ulster Defence Regiment in 1981.

Mr McGeough pleaded not guilty to the charge in court this week, as well as to other charges of weapons possession and IRA membership.

The former Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member ran as an independent republican candidate in the Assembly election in 2007. He was arrested by the PSNI in connection with the attack as he left the polling station on the day of the election.

The timing of the arrest and the decision to reactivate the case have been criticised by republicans as politically motivated.

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© 2008 Irish Republican News