Three men who attempted to smuggle arms for the IRA into Ireland are sentenced in Boston.

In 1984, an attempt was made to smuggle several tonnes of firearms and military equipment into Ireland from the United States. The security forces received a tip-off and the consignment was intercepted.

The trawler 'Marita Ann' was seized by the naval vessel LÉ Emer off the Great Skellig Rock in September 1984. The LÉ Emer had been waiting in darkness for the Marita Ann to enter Irish waters. Five men were arrested on board the Marita Ann. Three of the men, Martin Ferris, John Crawley and Skipper Browne, were later jailed for 10 years by the Special Criminal Court with the other two, Gavin Mortimer and John McCarthy, receiving suspended sentences.

It was probably the IRA's most ambitious known gun running attempt ever.

The collection of guns and armoury on board included rockets, over 160 firearms, 71,000 rounds of ammunition, as well as a range of other military equipment. The consignment was transferred from the Valhalla to the Marita Ann about 120 miles off the Kerry coast.

The consignment came to Ireland from the United States on board the Valhalla, an 82 foot trawler owned by Robert Anderson who is in court on charges of gun running today. The weapons were bought by two other defendants, Joseph Murray Jr and Patrick Nee. All three men are in court today following a two and a half year US investigation into the Boston end of the affair.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 30 June 1987. The reporter is Joe O'Brien.