Special Branch head 'believes men were in IRA'

The head of the Garda Special Branch told the Special Criminal Court in Dublin today that he believed two Dublin men were members of the IRA.

Detective Chief Superintendent Philip Kelly said he believed Niall Binead and Kenneth Donohoe were members of the IRA in October 2002.

The detective chief superintendent said it was his opinion that Binead and Donohoe were members of an unlawful organisation, namely the Irish Republican Army, otherwise the IRA, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann on October 11, 2002.

Questioned about his belief by prosecuting counsel Mr George Birmingham SC , Det Chief Supt Kelly said he believed that Binead and Donohoe were members prior to October 11, 2002.

Niall Binead, also known as Niall Bennett (aged 35) of Faughart Road, Crumlin, Dublin and Kenneth Donohoe (aged 26) of Sundale Avenue, Mountain View, Tallaght, Dublin, have pleaded not guilty to membership of an illegal organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann, otherwise the IRA on October 10, 2002.

Det Chief Supt Kelly told the court that he is in charge of the Special Detective Unit (Special Branch) and that the business of the SDU is the security of the State and monitoring subversive organisations and unlawful activity.

He was asked his opinion about the two accused separately and he said he believed the accused Binead was a member of the IRA on October 11, 2002.

When asked about the accused Donohoe, the detective chief superintendent said he believed Donohoe was an IRA member on October 11, 2002.

He said his belief was based on confidential information available to him and was not based on events at Cork Abbey in Bray, Co Wicklow, on October 11, 2002.

The court has been told that gardaí arrested five men after suspicious activity around a number of vehicles in Cork Abbey, Bray, on October 10, 2002. Donohoe was arrested later that month and Binead was arrested in December of that year.

Det Chief Supt Kelly said his belief about the two accused was not based on the arrest of the five men in Bray in October 2002.

Questioned by Judge Joseph Matthews why he had not arrested Binead for membership if his belief was not based on the arrests, the detective chief superintendent said he would need some activity to sustain a charge against accused.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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