Page last updated at 10:07 GMT, Friday, 27 November 2009

Accused gunman was in Irish army

Gerard James McManus
Gerard James McManus

One of the men accused of trying to kill a police officer in County Fermanagh was a reserve soldier in the Irish Army, it has been confirmed.

Gerard James McManus, from Fern Hill in Letterkenny, County Donegal, appeared in court on Wednesday charged with attempting to murder a trainee officer.

The 26-year-old was arrested after shots were fired during an undercover police operation in Garrison village.

He was dismissed from the Irish Reserve on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Irish defence forces said Gerard McManus had joined the Irish Reserve Defence Force in 2000, and was a member of the Carndonagh unit in County Donegal.

The commandant added that Mr McManus had not taken part in training or shown up for parading duties for the last two years.

He explained that reservists undertake training on a voluntary basis and that if they do not report for training for a period of more than 18 months they can be dismissed.

Shots fired

The commandant said that even before he was arrested, a process had already begun to dismiss Mr McManus as a reservist.

At the court hearing on Wednesday, a defence solicitor asked a detective if it was true Mr McManus had given a version of events in which he said shots had been fired at him, he had fled, and that while doing this, he had fired a shot away from the undercover police officers.

The detective confirmed that this was the version of events the accused had given.

Mr McManus was one of two men who were remanded in custody on Wednesday, charged with the attempted murder.

Resisting arrest

His co-accused is 32-year-old Kevin Barry Nolan, from Main Street, Blacklion in County Cavan.

Mr Nolan stood as independent republican candidate in local council elections in County Fermanagh four years ago.

The pair were also charged with having a gun and Mr McManus was further charged with using a gun to resist arrest.

Three other men arrested after the weekend gun attack were released without charge on Monday.

Two were arrested by the PSNI in Fermanagh and one by Irish police in County Leitrim.



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