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.

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  • Brian MacAodh

    Another jailed for the Wearing of the Green

  • joeCanuck

    Is there something odd in this? Does it mean that the Court is saying that the IRA still exists? I guess we’d need to see the full judgement.

  • John East Belfast

    Another blow to PIRA legitimacy – We know where the ROI stands in the “One man’s freedon fighter is another man’s terrorist” debate.

  • old school

    Six years is the standard sentence for membership of the other IRA’s
    3 years for the Provos.
    Note that no other charges were brought, ie money laundering, tax evasion.
    Not charged till well after decomissioning and support for police was completed.
    Politically driven judgement.

  • Does anyone want to have that debate as to why Gerry Adams doesn’t admit membership again?

  • Argosjohn

    John of East Belfast. I know you feel bad that one of your own (Crown Catholics) has been jailed. But relax. Sinn Fein are still making sure the Queen’s writ runs on your streets.

  • “Six years is the standard sentence for membership of the other IRA’s 3 years for the Provos.”

    Rubbish, go and Google it. First one I came across was Patrick O’Shea who got 4 years for CIRA membership.

  • Alias

    So the Court declared that it was satisfied that this PIRA member 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 State didn’t proceed with charges that would carry a far greater sentence than this lenient one and nor does it seem unduly concerned about 25 million entering the criminal underworld.

  • Oracle

    But it wasn’t Sinn Fein or the PIRA that robbed the Northern bank…… lol 🙂 were are all the SF supporters that said there was nothing proved in any court linking the SF/IRA with the northern bank

  • TheHorse

    Whats the difference between PIRA allegedly stealing it and the British Government giving millions to the UDA and its breakaway faction in east Antrim, the UVF got millions as well as the OIRA they never decommissioned for nothing, or are we all supposed to believed these organisations decommissioned because they support the peace process.

  • Dixie

    Wise up if the Brits wanted to put Gerry away they’d have done so years ago using any of their informers like Scap or Donaldson or anyone of the supergrasses.

    Gerry has been too valuable to put in jail.

  • Are you trying to say the Brits dictate who gets brought before the southern courts? I’m sure Dermot Ahern would be very interested in any information you have.

  • jim

    more like spending of the green.

  • Mick Murphy

    They are still locking up Republicans for IRA membership when there is still a catalogue of crimes the so called security forces committed against the Catholic people of the 6 counties waiting to be prosecuted.It’s been over 30 years since the British Army murdered people on the streets of Derry on Bloody Sunday but yet no one has ever been charged.What about Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson,why aren’t the securocrat masterminds behind the Loyalist killings charged yet? There is an very obvious double standard at work leading one to believe that the peace agreement was more of a capitulation by the Republican leadership now in Stormont than an equitable settlement.The peace agreement it seems acknowledged that the RUC and the British Army were unanswerable for any criminal past transgressions while Republicans would be forever liable to prosecution even under the new Sinn Fein partnership in government,something just doesn’t add up.Basically it’s like saying the man who once directed the IRA in Derry by his own admission and maybe sent young men on a mission is now part of the establishment that wants to put them behind bars for their part in his organisation and for any “crimes” he ordered them to participate in,wonderful.No wonder Paisley and the British loved this agreement,the participants got a get out of jail card while everyone else is looking over their shoulders.

  • Pete Baker

    No, joe.

    The conviction relates to membership in 2005.

  • Yeah, me. Four years for belonging to a gang who murdered and tortured?. He’d be getting off light., thats if the Brits would let it get to court. No doubt they have their own reasons for preserving GAs health…

  • The PIRA do not have sole occupancy of the one way street of no accountability:
    The disappeared: too many to list except the brutal and cowardly murder of a widowed mother of ten…
    The deliberate orphaning of ten children;
    The brutal subjugation of their own communities.
    The murder of Robert McCartney
    The murder of Paul Quinn
    The abduction of Mr Tohill
    Various knee cappings and worse’
    The ‘expelling’ of people from their own country
    The Northern Bank Robbery
    The list goes on, and it is awaiting the answer of serious allegations, ranging from incest to rape to child abuse..

    Arguably the only people keeping the lid on the allegations are the Brits…

    You get involved in a dirty war you better be prepared for the consequences and those consequences are not far away, and they are not going away…

  • Dixie

    I wonder will we see scenes like that in Bangkok when the Shinners/DUP try to enforce their anti-protest/anti-workers legislation?

    I can imagine the blue-vested Community Workers/CRJ moving in behind the PSNI riot squads.

  • It will be interesting, if not enlightening to see…

  • Mick Murphy

    whats your point?

  • redhugh78

    sorry I must have missed the part convicting anyone of robbing the northern bank.

  • redhugh78


  • Mick Murphy

    Well regardless of what we both think Sinn Fein are now the biggest party in the northern 6 counties and Marty could be the next First Minister,that will be the true test of the Unionists’ committment to the democratic process and the very peace agreement itself.Somehow I doubt if the DUP has reached the political maturity to respect Sinn Fein’s mandate.

  • Neil

    Redhugh, innuendo and suspicion are anough to determine guilt for some. Love of democracy goes so far and then dies a miserable death. I know Oracle expressed pride in his intention to vote for the honest and decent TUV (ignore their member generating support for ‘good man’ Torrens Knight – he only killed 12, and be honest who doesn’t know a woman beater or two), so one can probably extrapolate roughly who would fall under his suspicion (fenians) – and would therefore in his ideal world be whisked off to prison without a trial, as suspicion is enough for that individual to determine guilt.

  • Neil

    Again, evidence not required. And any IRA member who acts in any way illegaly is therefore considered to have been sanctioned by Gerry and Martin personally.

    Put another way, due to the trouble in Drumcree and the murder of the three brothers in an arson attack (Quinn I think the name was) we can therefore decide that each and every Orangeman is personally equally culpable. In the same way SF is culpable for the actions of every member and former member. If one robs a bank off his own bat – Gerry’s fault. If one beats someone up – Gerry’s fault. Etc. etc.

    Of course what I’ve written is total bullshit. There are nice old christian guys in the OO, I know that, and to hold an organisation responsible for the unsanctioned actions of a member is too stupid to consider seriously. For most people.

  • redhugh78


  • old school

    Which of Pippakin’s examples were unsanctioned, Neill??

  • Neil

    Sorry Old School, I couldn’t say. I don’t know. Neither does anyone else. Suspicions and convictions are very different things. I won’t attempt to say that anything happening prior to the ceasefire was unsanctioned (again I simply don’t know), however the three that jump out at me: Northern Bank, Paul Quinn, Robert McCartney, no-one can say they know that the IRA leadership sanctioned any of it, in fact to go one further, no one can say that the IRA as an organisation or individual IRA men were responsible.

    We know that with the Northern bank, two lots of money were found. One in an RUC frequented club, the other in a barbeque in Cork. We know the RUC told us that ‘it had to be’ the RA, no-one else would be capable.

    But then that kind of might be a bit of a fig leaf for two reasons: one the RUC and latterly PSNI couldn’t catch a cold. Their detection rates are the worst in the UK.

    Second more daring raids have taken place in Engerland, which I believe were not attributed to the IRA (by the police who frequent the club where the money was found). So presumably people do exist who can pull this kind of thing off who are not IRA men.

    Finally no-one can say that the IRA was responsible as there is a rule in most democratic countries that goes something like innocent til proven guilty. Just as well really, as if suspicions gained convictions the RUC would have ‘suspected’ half of West Belfast, and a lot of innocent people would be in prison.

    With the two murders mentioned, again the whole innocent til proven guilty thing comes into play. No one has been convicted of any of the above. If IRA men were involved who is to say that they were sanctioned from on high? Surely some of the many, many touts might have mentioned something? We are told on this site that the organisation was riddled from top to bottom with informers yet no-one has had anything to say.

    So, to round things up, guilt is determined in a courtroom. Suspicion does not equal guilt. You can suspect all you want but until such times as something is proven in front of a judge, then assigning blame is pointless finger pointing. And if anyone here thinks that the leadership of the RA would have sanctioned the Paul Quinn or McCartney murders given the political situation here then they’re living in cloud cuckoo land, but for some the pavlovian hatred of all things green kicks in and any crime committed by any Republican will be laid at the feet of the SF leadership, regardless of a distinct lack of either convictions or proof.

  • argosjohn

    Well Gerry Adams certainly didn’t do it. He didn’t do anything. As Bobby Sands would say if he had not died for Gerry.

  • Mick Murphy

    I think you are comparing apples and oranges here,there is a difference between someone being killed/harmed from a direct order within a paramilitary organisation and the extremely unfortunate spin off events from the Drumcree situation culminating in the deaths of three young innocent children.My point was that’s it’s ironic that former IRA members are being charged with “crimes” that happened 30 years ago on orders from their leadership some of whom now sit in the government thatt wants to jail them,if you try to justify that then all I can say then you must be a member of Sinn Fein.

  • Henry94

    The judge said that the court accepted the belief of Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Quilter that Hanlon was an IRA member on February 16, 2005 and that belief had been corroborated by Hanlon’s failure to answer material questions during his questioning by Gardaí.

    That is the evidence against Tom Hanlon. The say-so of a Garda and the exercise of his right to silence. You might as well call it Internment.

  • jim

    hit 1 of their honchos a dig on the gub.youl not be long learrning if they exist.were in belfast not canada

  • jim

    explain the wealth….holiday homes in donegall..spain dubi..ect..not to mention the houses in the areas single parents claiming the bru n the LANLORD the local sf man.

  • Alias

    The Court is satisfied that this criminal money launderer was a member of PIRA. However, it isn’t possible to even begin to engage in plausible deniability in regard to said criminal money launderer being an elected Sinn Féin councillor and a former Sinn Féin candidate for the Irish Parliament.

  • jim

    take em down

  • Alias

    Well, you know… secret societies tend not to publish a membership list or to issue PAYE forms so it can be a tad difficult to ‘prove’ membership. In the case of state-sponsored groups like PIRA it is usually agents and their handers who provide the details in the form of intel. For example, PIRA’s Internal Security Unit had a remit that could only be countermanded by a member of its Army Council so the intelligence services knew the names of every single member of PIRA and the details of every operation. While it knows who these folks are because of that sponsorship, it can hardly bring a member of PIRA ISU or bring Gerry himself into court to testify without giving the game away, can it? The intelligence is solid nonetheless.

  • slappymcgroundout

    Are you know or have you ever been…

    Seems that some of the Irish never learn.