Samaritans volunteer left ‘really shook’ after call saying explosives had been planted at home of Helen McEntee

Man (52) has gone on trial for allegedly making false report from Midlands Prison cell in 2021

A Samaritans volunteer said she was left “really shook” after receiving a call saying explosives had been planted at the house of the Minister for Justice and her family.

Michael Murray (52), formerly of Seafield Road, Killiney, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to one count of knowingly making a false report giving rise to an apprehension for the safety of someone else while he was imprisoned in the Midlands Prison, Portlaoise on March 7, 2021.

His trial opened on Tuesday and is expected to last a week.

A Samaritans volunteer told Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, that she was on duty on March 7, 2021 when the phone rang at around 8.30pm.


She answered the phone and after a few moments of silence heard a male voice say “can you take a message?”.

The woman agreed and the caller said “this is the Irish National Liberation Organisation. Explosives have been planted at the home of the Minister of Justice and her family. The password is Red October. This is to do with a court case happening in Dublin tomorrow”.

The woman told the court the voice spoke “slowly, carefully and calmly”. She said it didn’t sound like the voice of a teenager or someone in their 20s and she thought it could be a Dublin accent speaking.

She said she was “really shook” after the call and called her supervisor before ringing emergency services. She made a statement to gardaí the following day on March 8.

Under cross examination, the woman told Garret Baker SC, defending, she could not see the phone number that made the call when she answered.

She also said there was no way for them to know how long the caller had been waiting and that the call had lasted about two minutes.

She said usual procedure would have been to call emergency services before calling the supervisor.

Earlier in his opening speech, Mr Gillane told the jury the fact Mr Murray was an inmate at the time was “neither here nor there” but that it is an important factual matter in the case. He also said Helen McEntee was the Minister for Justice when the call was made.

Counsel said an operation was “swiftly put in place” following the call, and the minister’s home was searched but no explosives or anything untoward was recovered.

Mr Gillane said the jury will hear the call was traced back to the Midlands Prison and further analysis of the phone systems there ultimately traced the call to Mr Murray’s cell.

Counsel said Mr Murray was the sole occupant of that prison cell and the sole occupant on the night in question.

He said Mr Murray was arrested and questioned.

“You will hear what he said to gardaí when the allegations were put to him,” Mr Gillane told the jury.

The trial continues before Judge Patricia Ryan and a jury.

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