Hanlon jailed for three years and three months for IRA membership

To add to the convictions resulting from Operation Phoenix noted previously – “Northern Bank robbery – redux”.  Former Sinn Féin councillor, and unsuccessful candidate in the 2002 general election, Tom Hanlon has been sentenced to 3 years and 3 months for IRA membership at the non-jury Special Criminal Court in Dublin.

Convicting Hanlon, Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding, said that the court was satisfied that Hanlon was “intimately involved in highly suspicious financial transactions involving monies which have been proved to have included proceeds from the bank robbery in Belfast.”

But, the judge added, Hanlon had not been charged with a money laundering offence and did not have the opportunity to defend himself against such an accusation in court.

The iol report also notes

The court heard that Cork chef Don Bullman, who was caught in possession of €94,000 in a Daz washing powder box, had been jailed for four years in 2007 for IRA membership on the same date as Hanlon.

Mr Justice Butler said the court had to be consistent and was taking nine months off the four year sentence for Hanlon because he was not prosecuted until recently even though the evidence against him was available at the same time as the evidence against Bullman in 2007.

Interestingly, Hanlon was not actually charged with IRA membership until May 2009 along with George Hegarty – Hegarty subsequently pleaded guilty to money-laundering offences.