THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Man fined for possession of IRA drill manual

From the News Letter, January 15, 1936

William O’Kane Junior of Terhugh, Swatragh, Co Londonderry was charged at a special court in Belfast before Mr P J O’Donoghue, RM, and Mr H Toppin, RM, with the illegal possession of a revolver and five rounds of ammunition, a green, white and yellow flag, and an infantry manual (1935) of the IRA.

O’Kane was fined £4, or in default two months’ imprisonment, for having the drill book in his possession.

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Constable Wilson gave evidence of carrying out, with other policemen, a search of the defendant’s home and of finding “an IRA tricolour” in a drawer in a bedroom.

On this day in 1936 the News Letter reported that a man from Swatragh, Co Londonderry, had been charged at a special court in Belfast with the illegal possession of a revolver and five rounds of ammunition, a green, white and yellow flag, and an infantry manual (1935) of the IRA.Picture: Google

He said it was not the room that O’Kane slept in but when he was quizzed by the policeman he admitted that it was his property.

He was reported to have said to one of the policemen: “That is my national flag.”

Another policeman named McKenna told how when he had searched the kitchen of the house he had uncovered the IRA drill book.

When asked whether he desired to put any question O’Kane replied: “As a soldier of the IRA I refuse to recognise this court.”

In passing the judgment of the court Mr O’Donoghue said: “It is very small evidence on which to convict a man who might be sent to prison. It is a different matter with the book, which is obviously a document relating to drill and the IRA. The defendant will be fined £4 or, in default, two months’ imprisonment. If he desires time to pay, let him say so.”

There was no reply from O’Kane.