6 jailed for part in `Real IRA' training camp

 

Six men were jailed by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin yesterday for taking part in a "Real IRA" training camp in Co Meath in October 1999.

Seamus McGrane (46), Little Road, Dromiskin, Co Louth, Seamus McGreevy (47), a farmer, of Stamullen, Gormanston, Co Meath, and Martin Conlon (31), Railway Street, Armagh city, pleaded guilty to training people to use firearms at Herbertstown, Stamullen, Co Meath.

Damien Lawless (32), Nicholas Avenue, Dundalk; Anthony Ryan (25) and his brother Alan Ryan (20), also Grange Abbey Drive, Donaghmede, Dublin, pleaded guilty to getting training in firearms on the same date.

McGrane, McGreevy and Conlon were each jailed for four years and Lawless and Anthony Ryan were each jailed for three years. Alan Ryan was jailed for four years, to follow a three-year sentence he is serving for having a gun because he committed an offence while on bail.

Det Supt Peter Maguire of the Special Detective Unit told Mr Edward Comyn SC, prosecuting, that a joint operation by the Crime and Security Branch and the Special Detective Unit was mounted at a farm in Co Louth and a field at Stamullen in Co Meath.

At 7.45 p.m. four vehicles were seen arriving at the Louth farm and people got out.

People were seen getting into a horse box and the jeep pulling it headed for Stamullen.

Ten people went towards a mound of earth, the entrance to a disused wine cellar. Two of the men went to a hide and removed a piece of piping which was used to store weapons.

One man was seen carrying a rifle and sitting guard at the entrance to the cellar. When gardai moved in and shouted "Armed gardai on duty", two other men tried to run away and were arrested.

They were McGrane and McGreevy, who also both had two-way radios. The third man arrested at the cellar was John McDonagh.

Gardai called on the others to come out and they emerged one by one and were arrested.

Three juveniles among those arrested made statements. Gardai found an assault rifle, a sub-machinegun and a semiautomatic pistol in the cellar.

Det Supt Maguire said it was a training camp set up for training people in the use of paramilitary weapons. He said it was set up by a paramilitary organisation styling itself Oglaigh na hEireann.

He said McGrane was convicted of IRA membership and jailed for a year in 1976, and McGreevy had previous convictions for minor offences, Conlon, Lawless and Anthony Ryan had no previous convictions.