A Trinity College graduate who is a member of the militant republican group Eirigi was charged this week with possessing two handguns and ammunition.

Ursula Shannon, 28, appeared before an out-of-hours sitting of the Special Criminal Court in Dublin on Thursday after a foiled robbery attempt at a gun shop.

According to The Sun, Shannon and her co-accused Colin Brady, 23, John Troy, 33, and John McGreal, 36, all of Dublin, were charged with possession of two handguns and 32 rounds of ammunition after The Tackle Shop in Tullybeg, Rahan, County Offaly, was targeted on Tuesday night.

Detectives told the State Solicitor Michael O’Donovan that Shannon and McGreal were arrested in Tullamore, County Offaly, while Troy and Brady were apprehended in Mullingar, County Westmeath.

None of the accused made any reply either upon arrest or when the charges were put to them.

Presiding Judge Paul Butler, sitting with Judge Margaret Heneghan and Judge William Hamill, remanded all four accused in custody.

In a statement issued to the press on Thursday, Eirigi general secretary Breandan Mac Cionnaith confirmed that Ursula Ni Shionnain is a member of the socialist republican party.

Mac Cionnaith said: 'It is a well-known fact that Ursula Ni Shionnain is a member of Eirigi and has been for several years. The party is not seeking to hide or minimise that fact in any way.

'That she has now been charged following her arrest under the Offences Against the State Act is also a matter of public fact. Even though she has been charged, I am conscious that Ursula is still entitled to a presumption of innocence.'

Meanwhile Irish police officers are currently questioning four other suspected dissident republicans. They were arrested during raids across Limerick city yesterday on Thursday morning. The four men are reportedly in their 30's and 40's and are suspected of being members of the Real IRA.

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