Garda tells of seeing men unload plastic bags at pier

 

A garda surveillance officer told the Special Criminal Court yesterday that he saw three men accused of having explosives unloading bags from a lorry at Howth pier last year.

Det Garda Fergal O'Brien said he saw the men unload white bags and carry them into a disused fish shop, Molly Malone's, on the west pier at Howth. The court has been told that gardai found 33 bags of fertiliser which the prosecution has claimed were intended for use in an explosives mixture. Mr Eamonn Flanagan (42), The Square, Skerries, Mr Seamus Mc Loughlin (66), Balkill Park, Howth, and Mr Michael Blount (48), Bath Road, Balbriggan, have pleaded not guilty to possession of an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or to enable another person to do so at West Pier, Howth, Co Dublin, on January 5th last year.

Mr Joseph Dillon (52), a public relations officer for the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, of Green lawns, Skerries, has pleaded not guilty to possession of an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or to enable another person to do so at Windswept, Golf Links Road, Bettystown, Co Meath, on January 5th last year.

Det Garda O'Brien said he was on duty at Balkill Park in Howth about 5 p.m. on that date when he saw Mr McLoughlin leave his house by truck. He drove to Howth pier and parked outside Molly Malone's. At 5.30 p.m. he saw Mr Flanagan join hi m. They went to the front door of Molly Malone's, which Mr McLoughlin opened. They opened the curtains on the passenger side of the truck and unloaded white plastic bags into a fish box and brought them into Molly Malone's. They were joined by Mr Blount, who helped them unload the truck.

Cross-examined by Mr Anthony Sammon SC, for Mr McLoughlin, Det Garda O'Brien denied that he could not see the left-hand side of the truck because of where he was parked. He told Mr Michael O'Higgins for Mr Flanagan that he had recorded his observations on a dictaphone but had recorded over the tape after using it to make his statement of evidence.

The trial continues today.