The Sinn Féin TD Aengus O Snodaigh has said he has 'no idea’ how his election posters ended up in a van used by five men convicted of IRA membership.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh told RTÉ News that the five men were not members of his party and he could not be answerable for their actions.

He said he only knew one of the five from when he was growing up in Sandymount, and that he had not seen him for several years.

However, he does know Niall Binead, a party member who was convicted last November of similar offences. But Mr Ó Snodaigh said he could not be held responsible for him either.

The deputy said he could not speculate on why the men were in possession of fake gardaí uniforms, a stun gun and CS gas.

He added that nobody connected with criminality had a place in the republican movement.

Earlier, five members of an IRA active service unit received four-year prison sentences at the Special Criminal Court.

They were arrested in Bray in Co Wicklow in October 2002 with a number of items, including campaign posters for Deputy Ó Snodaigh.

The court was told that all five men were members of the Provisional IRA Dublin Brigade and were answerable directly to the leadership.

Mr Justice Diarmuid O’Donovan said the evidence pointed inexorably to membership and that all five were involved in criminal activity.