Page last updated at 13:09 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Trio charged with IRA membership

The Four Courts

Three men have been charged with IRA membership at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin.

They are Desmond Donnelly, 57, of Drumall, County Fermanagh, Gerard McGarrigle, 45, of Mount Carmel Heights, Strabane and Jim Murphy.

The trio were charged with membership of an illegal organisation styling itself on the Irish Republican Army, Oglaigh na hEireann, or the IRA.

The three men were remanded in custody until 4 March.

Under Irish law people suspected of being members of a variety of dissident republican groups are charged with IRA membership.

The court heard that the trio were arrested on Monday night at Letterkenny and Milford in County Donegal on suspicion of membership of an illegal organisation.

The detective who arrested Mr McGarrigle, said that when he was cautioned, Mr McGarrigle replied: "I think your laws is up the left and you are a disgrace to the Irish people.''

When he was formally charged Mr McGarrigle said: "I am not a member of any organisation.''

When Mr Murphy was arrested he declined to give his date of birth or address to Irish police.

The trio were amongst five men arrested in County Donegal as part of an Irish police operation to counteract the activities of dissident republicans.

Two other men who were arrested as part of the operation were released without charge.

Irish police said a sixth man in his 30s, was arrested on Tuesday night as part of a dissident investigation.

He is being detained at Letterkenny Garda Station under The Offences Against The State Act.

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