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IRA accused refused bail to drive wife to commemoration for former INLA chief-of-staff

CourtsBy Sunday World
The Special Criminal Court heard today that the accused man's wife is a relative of former INLA chief-of-staff, Gino Gallagher, who was murdered in 1996
The Special Criminal Court heard today that the accused man's wife is a relative of former INLA chief-of-staff, Gino Gallagher, who was murdered in 1996

A Dublin man accused of IRA membership has been refused an application to drive his wife to a wreath-laying ceremony in Belfast for the former INLA chief-of-staff.

The Special Criminal Court heard today that the accused man's wife is a relative of former INLA chief-of-staff, Gino Gallagher, who was murdered in 1996. 

Brian Kenna (54) had applied to the court for a variation in bail in order to drive his wife to the commemoration in Belfast on January 30th. 

Mr Kenna, of Crumlin Park, Crumlin was arrested in Co Laois in November by members of the Special Detective Unit as part of an ongoing operation targeting dissident republican activity.

He was later charged at the Special Criminal Court with membership of an unlawful organisation within the State, namely Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the Irish Republican Army, otherwise the IRA on November 21, 2015. 

At yesterday's/today's (Thurs) bail hearing, Detective Inspector William Hanrahan, of the Special Detective Unit, told the three-judge, non-jury court that gardai were contesting the application. 

He said that Mr Kenna was arrested outside Portlaoise prison with documents intended for people in Northern Ireland and that these documents were assessed to be intended for senior members of the IRA.  

The detective had "a serious concern" that people convicted or charged with a scheduled offence would be at the commemoration, the court heard.  

Mr Kenna also gave evidence at the bail application. He told the court that his wife has to walk with crutches and he wanted to drive her to Belfast but that he would not attend the commemoration. 

He refuted Detective Inspector Hanrahan's allegation that when he was arrested he had certain documents. 

Mr Kenna is a member of the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association, which provides a liaison service between families of republican prisoners and the prisoners themselves, the court heard.  

Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding, said that the court accepts Mr Kenna's presumption of innocence and that bail conditions are an infringement on his liberty. 

"But it's not as if his partner can't go without him," he said.  

He added, "In those circumstances, we have no hesitation to refuse."

By Daniel Hickey