US seeks extradition of Seán Garland

 

THE UNITED States is seeking the extradition of former Workers’ Party president Seán Garland over his alleged involvement in a large-scale operation to make high-quality counterfeit US dollars, the High Court heard yesterday.

Mr Justice Michael Peart remanded Mr Garland (74) in custody to Cloverhill Prison to appear again before the court next Wednesday.

The US authorities claim that Mr Garland, Beldonstown, Brownstown, Navan, Co Meath, conspired with others outside the United States as part of a counterfeiting operation involving almost perfect copies of US dollars.

It is also alleged the counterfeiting involved the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

In court yesterday, a detective from the Garda Extradition Unit told Jeremy Maher SC, for the State, that Mr Garland was arrested at 12.35pm yesterday afternoon at Mountjoy Square North in Dublin on foot of a warrant for his extradition.

The detective said Mr Garland had confirmed his identity and, when asked if he knew about the allegation contained in the warrants, replied: “Yes”.

In applying for a remand in custody, the detective said any application for bail would be objected to.

Michael Forde SC, for Mr Garland, said his client had a medical condition and he hoped to be in a position to apply for bail sometime next week.

Counsel added that he would require time to consider the allegations and his client would be seeking legal aid under the Attorney General’s scheme.

Mr Garland was elected president of the Workers’ Party in 2006. He retired from the presidency in May last year, but remains a member of the party’s central executive committee and is its national treasurer.

Following the arrest, the Workers’ Party described Mr Garland’s arrest as “politically motivated”. Speaking outside the court, a party spokesman, Malachy Steenson, claimed the extradition application was an attempt by the authorities to divert attention from the country’s economic crisis.

Senator Eoghan Harris yesterday condemned the arrest of Mr Garland. “Although there are deep and bitter divisions between myself and Seán Garland, that go back to my resignation from the Workers Party in 1989, I deplore the singling-out of an old, sick republican, who led the Official IRA to ceasefire in 1972 and who is charged with a major, but bloodless, crime of alleged forgery,” he said.