IRA member who bought darknet grenades jailed for 3½ years

Garda intercepted explosives being delivered to Darren Gleeson in Dublin

Special Criminal Court: IRA member Darren Gleeson was sentenced to 3½ years in prison

Special Criminal Court: IRA member Darren Gleeson was sentenced to 3½ years in prison


A Dublin man who ordered two grenades using the darknet, the hidden, usually criminal part of the internet, has been jailed for 3½ years for IRA membership. Darren Gleeson (35), of Corduff Green in Blanchardstown, Dublin, pleaded guilty last month at the Special Criminal Court to belonging to the organisation.

Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy said the Garda special detective unit received information in May this year that the IRA in Dublin was attempting to import explosives. A person using the screen name “guilleoteen” had bought two grenades, using the online currency Bitcoin, for delivery to a “Darren Kinsella”. There was a suggestion that this person might be making further inquiries about the availability of explosives, the judge said.

The delivery was intercepted, and the Garda arranged for two inert grenades to be delivered instead. Gleeson signed for the package as “Darren Kinsella” and accepted delivery at what turned out to be his girlfriend’s house. Within three or four minutes the Garda emergency-response unit arrived. When Gleeson opened the front door he was carrying a Stanley knife that he had been using to open the package.

Gleeson was arrested and taken to Finglas Garda station. He was interviewed five times but generally did not answer gardaí’s questions.

Ms Justice Kennedy said Gleeson had a significant number of previous convictions, including for four burglaries and two robberies, but that none was as significant as membership of an unlawful organisation. She added that although Gleeson operated at the lower level of the IRA, it had trusted him enough to arrange the delivery of the explosives.

Gleeson’s guilty plea, co-operation with gardaí­ at the scene, and family circumstances were mitigating factors that contributed to a shorter sentence than the possible maximum of eight years, which the judge backdated to May 18th this year.