Court hears men on gun charges were in disguise when alleged offences took place

Court hears men on gun charges were in disguise when alleged offences took place

Two Dublin men accused of possessing a firearm and ammunition were in disguise at the time of the alleged offences, the Special Criminal Court has heard today.

Michael Finlay (36) of Maplewood Road, Tallaght, and Dean Byrne (24) of Drumcairn Park, Tallaght have pleaded not guilty to the unlawful possession of a 9mm calibre semi-automatic pistol and magazine at Glenshane Crescent, Tallaght on June 5th, 2014.

They have also pleaded not guilty to the possession of various rounds of 9mm calibre semi-automatic ammunition at the same address on the same date. 

Today, Detective Superintendent Tom Maguire, of the Special Detective Unit (SDU), told prosecuting counsel Vincent Heneghan BL that on the day of the alleged offences he had confidential information regarding IRA activity, involving a white Renault Kangoo van with false registration plates, to occur that day in Tallaght. 

He briefed Detective Sergeant Joseph Finnegan about the information, the court heard.  

Detective Sergeant Finnegan, also of the SDU, told the court that, after the briefing, he drove to Glenshane Cresent, where he saw the Renault van, in which there were two men, one in the driver's seat and one in the rear.   

The detective said that he approached the van with his firearm drawn and called to the men to show their hands.  

The man in the rear of the van appeared to have a firearm in his hand and Det Sgt Finnegan ordered him to drop the weapon, the court heard.

The man dropped the weapon, the detective said, adding that Mr Finlay was in the rear of the van and Mr Byrne in the driver's seat.  

They were wearing disguises of fake beards, hats and glasses, he said.  

Mr Finlay was wearing a green An Post jacket, the court heard.  

A semi-automatic pistol with a fully-loaded magazine was found on the floor of the van, as well as other loose ammunition in a black hold-all bag, the court heard. 

Earlier, opening the trial, Mr Heneghan said that the prosecution case will introduce interviews with the accused men, from which inferences may be drawn. 

He also said there will be evidence that while searching the van gardai found a bottle containing an inflammatory substance. 

The trial continues. 

By Daniel Hickey