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Woman sells buggy, washing machine and drier for bail for IRA suspect

Paul Dodd appeared before an out-of-hour sitting of the non-jury court
Paul Dodd appeared before an out-of-hour sitting of the non-jury court

A man charged with IRA membership and explosive offences has been granted bail by the Special Criminal Court after his former partner “scraped together” a sum of money by selling a buggey, her washine machine and drier.

Paul Dodd (29), of St Matthews Park, Ballymahon, Co Longford appeared before an out-of-hour sitting of the non-jury court last Friday charged with membership of an unlawful organisation within the State, namely Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the Irish Republican Army, otherwise the IRA on June 24, 2015.

Mr Dodd was charged with possession of the component parts of an improvised explosive device, including assorted shotgun catridges, shotgun propellant, length of cardboard tube and clingfilm at his home on June 24 and with the possession of approximately 30 assorted shotgun cartridges at the same address on the same date.

He was granted bail by the three-judge court on a number of conditions today and on an independent surety of €500.

The gardaí had no objection to bail “per se” but Detective Inspector William Hanrahan of the Special Detective Unit said the surety was only able to offer “very, very little” money.

Det Insp Hanrahan said he knew Mr Dodd was a man of very little means but the gardaí required a surety to reflect the seriousness of the offences with which Mr Dood was charged.

The court heard that sureties for such offences are usually set at €20,000 and rarely go below €5,000 although it was stressed that there is no policy, practice or rule of thumb in that regard.

The accused's former partner, Sada Hoskins, told the court that she sold a buggy and her washing machine and dryer. She also asked her mother for €100 that was included in the surety of €500.

Ms Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, said there was no practice or policy operating in the Special Criminal Court with respect to sums required for admitting accused persons to bail.

“I wish to make that clear”.

Mr Justice Hunt said each case was considered on its own merits and on the basis of evidence proferred.

The purpose of granting bail was to ensure that an accused stands trial and complies with any requirements made of him.

He said there was a presumption in favour of granting bail and monies required could not be fixed at an amount that would constitute a denial or refusal.

There was no suggestion of a flight risk and the gardaí readily accepted that Mr Dodd is not in good financial circumstances, he said.

The surety was also not a person of substantial means and with great prejudice to herself and small children she had “scraped together” a sum of money.

Although small, Mr Justice Hunt, who sat with Judge Alison Lindsay and Judge Cormac Dunne, said it was sufficient to create a hazard and significant risk.

The judge told Ms Hoskins that if there was any difficulty and Mr Dodd did not comply with his bail “that money is gone”.

In the “unusual circumstances” of the case, the court admitted Mr Dodd to bail on condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour, surrender his passport and travel documents, undertake not to apply for any travel documents or leave the jurisdiction, reside at a given address, sign on daily at a local garda station, observe a daily curfew, undertake not to associate with any persons charged with a schedule offence, to not contact any prosecution witness or co-accused save for legal consultation, provide a mobile phone number and keep it switched on at all times.

Mr Dodd was remanded in custody with consent to bail to July 22 next.

Brian Kavanagh