Man on trial charged with IRA membership
A DUBLIN man has gone on trial at the Special Criminal Court accused of membership of the IRA. Robert Nolan (44), Elmdale Park, Cherry Orchard, Ballyfermot, has pleaded not guilty to membership of the IRA on January 11th last .
Opening the prosecution case, Garnet Orange told the court that Mr Nolan was a passenger in a green Ford Mondeo car that was stopped by an armed response Garda patrol car on January 11th last.
He said the court would hear that a search of the car uncovered a Webley revolver in a brown paper bag which had been concealed under the front passenger seat where Mr Nolan was sitting.
Mr Orange said there would be evidence that when the driver of the car was asked by gardaí “what the story was” with the gun, the driver replied: “I own it, it is mine.”
Mr Orange told the court that Mr Nolan declined to answer questions in relation to the circumstances in which the car was stopped and the gun was found, and the prosecution would ask the court to draw inferences from these failures to answer.
He said the court would also hear Garda Chief Supt Kevin O’Donoghue say that he believed the accused was a member of the IRA, and that this opinion was formed before the arrest of Mr Nolan.
The non-jury court yesterday heard legal argument on the power of gardaí to stop the car and whether Mr Nolan was in detention at the back of the car before the gun was found.
Presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler said the court would continue hearing submissions on the matters in argument today.