IRA trial: No recording equipment at garda stations where they were held, court told

The Special Criminal Court has been told there was no phone-recording equipment in two garda stations where IRA membership suspects were held.

The trial of Limerick men Thomas McMahon of Ros Fearna, Murroe and Noel Noonan with a hostel address at Clare Street trial was adjourned yesterday because of the recent taping revelations.

Det Supt Thomas Maguire has given evidence that there were no recording facilities at Cahir or Clonmel garda stations while the two suspects were in custody.

Thomas McMahon and Noel Noonan raised concerns that their phone conversations with their solicitors, which took place to their being interviewed, might have been taped.

Det Supt Maguire said however that his information was not first-hand as that he was relying on what he was told by a Superintendent Flynn who works at garda telecommunications.

The court has ordered that this Superintendent be called to give evidence at 2pm.

High Court President Nicholas Kearns has given judges guidelines to handle cases potentially affected by the garda tape revelations, saying that clarification must first be sought from the DPP, after which the defence must be allowed to make representations.

Meanwhile, a judge in the Central Criminal Court has asked barristers in an separate upcoming trial if there are any issues with respect to the garda telephone recordings.

The details of the trial cannot be disclosed for the legal reasons, but yesterday the judge said, "I wouldn't want a trial proceeding with respect to disclosure relating to the recent controversy of telephone recordings".

Barristers told the court that in this case that they did not believe the issue of recordings of telephone conversations at garda stations would be an issue.

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