IRA man secretly recorded assisting in ‘interrogations’ is jailed

Dublin and Belfast IRA brigades wanted to know who was leaking information to gardaí

Damien Metcalfe (33) has been jailed by the Special Criminal Court for two years and six months. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Damien Metcalfe (33) has been jailed by the Special Criminal Court for two years and six months. Photograph: Collins Courts.

 

An IRA man, who was secretly recorded by gardaí when assisting in IRA “interrogations” over leaks to gardaí, has been jailed by the Special Criminal Court for two years and six months.

Damien Metcalfe (33), with an address at Monastery Park, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, had denied membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hÉireann, otherwise the IRA, on November 24th, 2015.

The non-jury court previously heard the IRA was carrying out interrogations of other members following a series of IRA operations that were foiled by gardaí. The Dublin and Belfast brigades of the IRA wanted to know who was responsible for leaking information to gardaí, and brought a number of men to a house in Castleknock in Dublin to interrogate them.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt said on Monday the evidence against Metcalfe suggested he played a “supporting and logistical role” in IRA inquiries. His primary purpose was to bring people “to and from the inquiry” and he had “remained around the house” when inquiries were ongoing, he explained, adding that the defendant had participated in one of the interviews.

The State had relied on supporting evidence which included audio and video footage recovered from a Garda surveillance operation at Riverwood Park, Castleknock, Co. Dublin on August 7th and 8th, 2015.

Metcalfe, who visited the premises on four separate occasions over the two days, was found guilty of IRA membership by the non-jury court earlier this month.

His younger brother Conor Metcalfe (28) was also found guilty of IRA membership by the three-judge court last December and jailed for four years and six months.

Passing sentence this morning, Mr Justice Hunt said that supporting evidence suggested that Damien Metcalfe was willing as well as trusted by the IRA to assist in their inquiries.

Having regard to the gravity of the offence, the judge said that because Metcalfe was not an active member at the highest level of the organisation, the top range of penalties were not applicable to him. No specific harm had resulted from his activities, he added.

The offence of membership has a maximum prison sentence of eight years.

The judge indicated that this offence was at the lower range of the mid range of offences and the appropriate starting point was three years imprisonment.

Mitigating factors in sentencing, Mr Justice Hunt said, were the fact Metcalfe had complied with bail conditions and had not come to the adverse attention of gardaí since the incident.

Sentencing Metcalfe, the judge said the court would reduce the headline sentence of three years by six months and impose a sentence of two years and six months, backdated to May 6th when he went into custody.

Delivering judgment last week, the court found that the strands of evidence in relation to Metcalfe’s presence and activities at Riverwood Park and his various associations constituted “weighty support” for Chief Superintendent Anthony Howard’s belief that the accused was a member of the IRA on the date in question.