Court told of 80 'Real IRA' attacks since 1999


A senior Special Branch officer told the Special Criminal Court in Dublin today that the "Real IRA" has carried out 80 attacks since October, 1999, the most recent being a bomb attack on Maghaberry jail in the North last month.

Detective Inspector Diarmuid O' Sullivan said that firearms and explosives had been used in the 80 attacks which occurred both within and outside the State. He said that in the most recent attack a jeep containing 65 to 70 kilos of explosives was parked outside Maghaberry jail.

He said the detonator and booster had exploded but not the main bomb contained in the jeep.

The Detective Inspector, from the Special Detective Unit, was giving evidence before the sentencing of a Dublin man who has been convicted of membership of an illegal organisation.

Robert Brennan (33) of Sillogue Road, Ballymun, Dublin was found guilty of membership of an illegal organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on July 29th last year. He was also convicted of the unlawful possession of a stun gun at the Neptune Beach Hotel, Bettystown, Co Meath on the same date. He had denied the charges.

The court heard during the two day trial that Brennan was one of four men arrested after an operation by the Special Detective Unit and members of the Crime and Security Branch directed against the "Real IRA". He was seen by detectives carrying a hold-all bag into the Neptune Beach Hotel. When detectives raided a room in the hotel they found a stun gun in the bag. Brennan and three other men were arrested during the Garda operation.

Detective Inspector O' Sullivan said that Brennan was a member of the "Real IRA" since its formation by former members of the Provisional IRA who left the organisation after an IRA Army Convention in Co Donegal in 1997. He said that Brennan's presence at the Neptune Beach Hotel was for the purpose of "enhancing the operation" of the "Real IRA".

Brennan's counsel, Mr Peter Finlay SC said he had been instructed that his client does not propose having any involvement or connection with any subversive or unlawful organisation.

Mr Justice Robert Barr, presiding, said that the court would deliver its sentence tomorrow.