Northern Ireland

Five dissident suspects arrested near Dundalk in court

Gardai

Five men have appeared in court in Dublin charged in connection with suspected dissident republican activity.

The men were arrested in County Louth on Sunday after two cars were stopped by Irish police.

The charges against them include membership of an illegal organisation, the IRA, and unlawful possession of a shotgun.

The five were remanded in custody and will appear again next week.

Eamonn Lennon, 34, from Drumganny Lodge, Inniskeen, County Monaghan, Des Ryan, 53, Tubberfinn, Donore, County Louth and Barry O'Brien, 38, from Stonetown, Dundalk, County Louth are charged with membership of the IRA and unlawful possession of a shotgun.

Paul Maguire, 24, from Drumleek South, Castleblayney, County Monaghan is charged with possession of a shotgun while 32-year-old Neil Smith from Tubberfinn, Donore, County Louth is accused of being a member of the IRA.

A defence lawyer told the court that Barry O'Brien, who appeared in court with cuts and bruising to his head, had been assaulted when he was arrested and had to be taken to hospital for stitches to his head, back and arms.

The court also heard how Mr O'Brien said "I am not a member of the IRA" when charged with the offence of membership of an illegal organisation.