Republic of Ireland news

Two more men sentenced over murder of dissident republican Peter Butterly

Peter Butterly was shot dead outside The Huntsman Inn in Gormanston, Co Meath in March 2013

TWO men who played roles in the murder of a dissident republican in a pub car park off the Dublin-Belfast road have been jailed at Dublin's Special Criminal Court.

Peter Butterly (35) was shot outside The Huntsman Inn in Gormanston, Co Meath in view of pupils waiting for their school bus in March 2013.

The father-of-three died from gunshot wounds to his neck and upper back.

Michael McDermott (60) was yesterday sentenced to four years in prison, with the final six months suspended, while Frank Murphy (59) was jailed for three years with the final year suspended.

McDermott, of Riverdale House, Garrymore, Ballinagh, Co Cavan, pleaded guilty in November to helping an unlawful organisation murder Mr Butterly.

Murphy, of McDonagh Caravan Park, Triton Road, Bettystown, Co Meath, admitted committing an act to impede the apprehension or prosecution of accused-turned state witness David Cullen, knowing or believing him to be guilty of possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances on March 6 2013.

Both men had originally pleaded not guilty at the non-jury court to the murder of Mr Butterly.

Sentencing McDermott, Mr Justice Paul Coffey said the only assistance the court could be sure he was involved in was the recruiting and instructing of David Cullen in the disposal of the murder weapon.

The court took into account that he has no previous convictions and is a "loving and supporting" husband and father.

Mitigating factors for Murphy were that he has no previous convictions and has suffered from failing health.

David Cullen was originally charged with the murder of Mr Butterly, from Dunleer, Co Louth, but pleaded guilty in July 2014 to the unlawful possession of a semi-automatic pistol on the day of the shooting.

He turned state's witness and was sentenced to seven years in prison, with half of the term suspended.

Four men - Kevin Braney (44) of Glenshane Crescent, Tallaght, Dublin; Edward McGrath (37) of Land Dale Lawns, Springfield, Tallaght; Sharif Kelly (49) of Pinewood Green Road, Balbriggan and Dean Evans (27) of Grange Park Rise, Raheny, Dublin - have already received life sentences at the Special Criminal Court following convictions for Mr Butterly's murder.

Court hearings were told a Toyota Corolla carrying Evans and McGrath pulled up in front of Mr Butterly's car at The Huntsman Inn and shots were fired from a pistol.

The victim ran from his car, pursued by a gunman who fired more shots.

The gun was later thrown out of the window of the killers' car and picked up by Cullen, with gardaí saying the plan was for him to bury it.

Cullen was later supposed to be picked up by Murphy but was apprehended first.

The Toyota was also stopped by gardaí.

Investigations showed Cullen's “recruitment" into the operation involved Kelly and McDermott.

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