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Former IRA man on passport charge was arrested over murder in Dublin

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Gun victim Liam Murray

Gun victim Liam Murray

Gun victim Liam Murray

A former IRA man who will be sentenced for fake passport offences was previously arrested for an unsolved gun murder in the capital.

Donal Gannon (58), who was considered one of the terrorist organisation's key bomb makers, pleaded guilty to providing information and documents he knew to be false and misleading in connection with an application for the renewal of an Irish passport.

The application was made in the name of David O'Brien at an unknown location in the State on an unknown date between May 7 and May 30, 2017.

He also pleaded guilty to using a false instrument at Kevin Street garda station, Dublin 8, on May 7, 2017.

At Dublin Circuit Court yesterday, Judge Melanie Greally said she was going to order a report from the Probation Service to allow for Gannon to be assessed for suitability for community service before finalising the case.

She remanded him on continuing bail until February 15.

The Herald can reveal that Gannon was arrested in July 2011 by detectives investigating the gun murder of Liam 'Blackie' Murray (42), who was found dead in his home at Rock- brook Cottages, Cruagh Road, Rathfarnham, on March 20, 2009.

Mr Murray was last seen alive on St Patrick's Day, three days before.

Gannon and a close associate were arrested and questioned more than two years later in relation to the murder before being released without charge.

EVIDENCE

The Director of Public Prosecutions later decided there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone in relation to the death.

Gardaí have worked on the theory that Mr Murray was targeted because of a dispute over a property.

Gannon was convicted in London in July 1997 for the offence of conspiracy to cause explosions and received a sentence of 35 years imprisonment.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard he was released under the Good Friday Agreement in 2000 and is "a full supporter of the peace process".

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Gannon, of Shelton Drive, Kimmage, Dublin, said he falsely obtained the passport, which was in the name of a man who died in 1986, as he wanted to climb a mountain in the US.

He said he did not believe he would be admitted entry with his own passport, but a detective garda said he did not find this explanation "plausible".

At a previous sentencing hearing, Detective Garda Padraig Hanley said he became aware of what appeared to be a false application in Aug-ust 2017.

Det Gda Hanley said the application in question was for the renewal of a passport in the name of David O'Brien, with a date of birth of July 23, 1963.

He said Mr O'Brien was killed in a road accident in 1986.

Gannon has nine previous convictions, including the conviction for conspiracy to cause explosions.

He has also been convicted of assaulting a garda and attempted burglary.

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