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Forensic experts at the scene of the fatal shooting of Real IRA boss Alan Ryan in Clongriffin in Dublin in 2012. Laura Hutton/

Man accused of IRA membership had picture of late Alan Ryan on his phone

Darren Weldon has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation.

A DUBLIN MAN accused of IRA membership had a picture message of the late Real IRA leader Alan Ryan on his mobile phone, the non-jury Special Criminal Court has heard.

Darren Weldon (47), from Kilbarrack in Dublin but with an address at Drinadaly in Trim, Co Meath, has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself as the Irish Republican Army or Óglaigh na hÉireann on 14 October 2014.

Detective Sergeant Eileen Keogh of the Special Detective Unit (SDU) told prosecuting counsel Paul Greene SC today that she received Weldon’s mobile phone on 14 October and downloaded information from it.

Keogh agreed with Greene that she extracted three images from Weldon’s phone which she thought were of “particular relevance” to the investigation.

One of the picture messages showed two images of the late Alan Ryan with the words “heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done regardless of the consequences”, she said.

In cross-examination, John Moher BL put it to Keogh that the images on his client’s phone could have been sent to him by someone else. “I can’t say if he received them or created them, I’m not in a position to say,” she replied.

Following this, the witness agreed that Weldon may have received these images.

Moher put it to Keogh that when one receives an image via WhatsApp and the conversation is later deleted, the saved image can remain on the phone. “I’m not in a position to discount that,” replied the witness.

Shot dead in 2012

Detective Inspector William Hanrahan of the SDU gave evidence that he was present at the Special Criminal Court in 2001 when Ryan was sentenced to four years in prison for “training in the use of firearms” at Stamullen, Co Meath, in 1999. Ryan was shot dead in 2012.

Detective Garda Jude Ainsworth from the SDU told Greene that he was on patrol in north Dublin in May 2011 when he saw Ryan get out of the passenger seat of Weldon’s Volkswagen Passat car.

Under cross-examination by Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, Ainsworth said he made a note of meeting Weldon at the time but had been unable to locate this notebook.

Garda James Flaherty gave evidence that he was on patrol on the evening of 2 April 2012 when he observed  Ryan, Weldon and another man in conversation. The witness said he had no interaction with the men.

The trial continues tomorrow in front of Mr Justice Paul Coffey, presiding, sitting with Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge Michael Walsh.

Comments are closed due to ongoing legal proceedings.