Special Criminal Court, Dissident Republicans, IRA, Declan Phelan
Two Dublin men who were arrested for membership of the IRA while out on bail on another charge of IRA membership have been granted temporary bail by the Special Criminal Court, despite the objections of gardai.
Declan Phelan (32), of Lanndale Lawns, Tallaght and John Brock (41), of Glenview Park, Tallaght were among eight men brought before an Easter Sunday sitting of the non-jury court and charged with membership of an unlawful organisation within the State namely Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the Irish Republican Army (IRA), on March 29, 2013.
The men were arrested on Good Friday after a search of a commercial premises in Clondalkin as part of an ongoing garda investigation into the activities of dissident republicans.
Mr Phelan and Mr Brock, who were granted bail on April 5, were subsequently arrested two months later after a search of a house in Tallaght as part of an operation led by members of the garda Special Detective Unit and Crime and Security section.
They were again charged before the Special Criminal Court with membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on July 3rd last.
Detective Inspector Michael Gibbons today told Vincent Heneghan BL, for the State, that gardai were objecting to bail as the accused men breached the conditions imposed with regard to the first charge of IRA membership, which stipulated they were not to associate with anyone convicted of, or charged with, a scheduled offence.
He said gardai believed that if granted bail, the accused men would not comply with any bail conditions.
Mr Justin McQuade BL, for Mr Phelan, and Mr Padraig Dwyer SC, for Mr Brock, both told the court that bail was being sought for a limited period over Christmas.
Presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler said the objection to bail was understandable as the men were found to be in “flagrant breach” of their bail conditions, which was not denied or explained.
He said that if the application were for full bail, the court could not see how it could impose any conditions that would be adhered to, but the application was for limited bail over the Christmas period, and the court also noted that neither man would stand trial before 2015.
Mr Justice Butler said the court would grant limited bail to Mr Phelan from 9am on December 23 to 4pm on January 2, 2014.
Bail was set on an independent surety of €20,000 and on a number of other conditions, including that Mr Phelan not associate with anyone charged with or convicted of a scheduled offence.
Mr Justice Butler said that Mr Brock’s case was slightly different as he had only €7,000 by way of an independent surety but had offered a full curfew and sought only half the amount of bail time.
He said the court would grant bail to Mr Brock from December 23 to December 28 on the basis of a full curfew at his home, with a number of other conditions imposed.
The non-jury court earlier set June 9, 2015 for the trial for Mr Phelan and Mr Brock on the charge of membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on July 3rd last.
The court also set the same date for the trial of their co-accused Peter Burns (39) of Glenshane Crescent, Tallaght and Michael Barr (33) of Carlton Court, Poppintree, Ballymun, who were charged with the same offence on the same date.
The three remaining co-accused Kevin Braney (39), of Glenshane Crescent, Tallaght, Brian Nick McBennett (54) of Ard Collum Avenue, Artane and Desmond Christie (49) of Liam Mellows Road, Finglas were further remanded to appear before the court on January 21 next.