Men in Cork kidnap plot jailed for INLA membership

 

FOUR MEN arrested during a Garda investigation into an alleged INLA plot to kidnap a Cork businessman were jailed for INLA membership by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin yesterday.

There was cheering and applause from the men’s supporters in the public gallery after the sentences were handed down.

John McCrossan (47), Ballycoleman Estate, Strabane, Co Tyrone, and Neil Myles (54), a native of Cork of no fixed abode, were each jailed for 4½ years for membership of the INLA on February 22nd last year.

They had pleaded not guilty and were convicted earlier this month after a four week trial.

Gareth Dunne (24), Clonard Road, Crumlin, and Gerard Kelleher (28), Cathedral View Walk, Kevin Street, Dublin, were each jailed for four years for membership of the INLA on February 22nd last year. They had admitted the charge earlier this year.

The sentencing of a fifth man, Edward McGarrigle (43), Melmount Gardens, Strabane, Co Tyrone, was adjourned until October after the court was told he was in Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry after suffering a fracture to his leg.

McGarrigle was convicted of the membership charge earlier this month but was released on bail pending sentence.

Det Supt Diarmuid O’Sullivan told the court that gardaí had thwarted INLA activities, including the theft of €1.6 million and the intimidation of Cork businessman Denis Maguire.

The court in its judgment said there was “background evidence of a well-organised plot to carry out some criminal enterprise in respect of a businessman and/or his family in Cork”. The intended target was Denis Maguire, Lover’s Walk, Montenotte, Cork.

The court heard that the five men were under Garda surveillance when they held meetings in Dublin and Cork between August 2007 and February 2008.

Mr Maguire returned home at 8pm on February 22nd in the company of two gardaí. Dunne and Kelleher were on the premises and they were arrested and searched. The coal-shed was also searched. A black-handled knife, duct tape, cable ties and two other black-handled knives were found. McCrossan, McGarrigle and Myles were arrested later that day.

Det Supt O’Sullivan thanked Mr Maguire for his co-operation with gardaí and said that Mr Maguire wanted to point out that he did not keep money in his house.

Sentencing the men, Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding, said the court was only dealing with the offence of membership as the men had not been charged with any other offence.