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Accused, Seamus Daly, faces 29 counts of murder over 1998 Real IRA attack in Northern Ireland that tried to derail peace process. He pretended to be his brother when stopped by police
11 April 2014
Seamus Daly, accused of the Omagh bombing in 1998, arrives at court in Dungannon, Northern Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Omagh bomb suspect Seamus Daly was arrested as he attended a maternity unit with his heavily pregnant wife, a court was told.
Daly, 43, was held on Monday at a hospital in Newry, Northern Ireland, after a decision to arrest him for 1998 atrocity was taken in consultation with prosecutors at the “highest level”.
He claimed to be his own brother when stopped and was only formally identified through fingerprint analysis.
He appeared before Dungannon Magistrates’ Court on Friday charged with 29 counts of murder in connection with the bloodiest outrage of the Troubles.
The prosecution comes a year after a civil court ruled that Daly was liable for the atrocity.
Dungannon magistrates heard that the prosecution case against him is based on phone, forensic and witness evidence.
A detective said the decision to charge Daly, originally from Cullaville, Co Monaghan, had been taken in consultation with the “highest level” of Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service after reviewing a range of evidence allegedly linking the bricklayer and publican with the August 1998 attack.
Daly, who now lives in Jonesborough, Co Armagh, was remanded in custody after deputy District Judge Paul Conway refused a bail application.
His lawyer told the court that Friday was the due date for Daly and his wife’s second child.
No one has ever been successfully convicted in the criminal courts for the Real IRA bombing in Omagh, Co Tyrone, which happened just months after the Good Friday Agreement.
A 500lb car bomb was detonated on Market Street which left 29 people dead and 200 injured.
In 2009, bereaved families were forced to take their own action in the civil courts and won a landmark ruling at Belfast High Court when a senior judge found four men, including Daly, liable for the bombing.
Daly, along with Michael McKevitt, Liam Campbell and Colm Murphy, were ordered to pay £1.6 million to the families in compensation.
Daly and Murphy appealed and were granted a retrial in the civil courts but were found liable for a second time in 2013.
Dressed in jeans and a dark grey hooded top, an unshaven Daly did not speak during the half-hour hearing in court.
He also faces counts of causing the explosion in Omagh; possession of a bomb in the Co Tyrone market town with intent to endanger life or property; conspiring to cause an explosion in Lisburn, Co Down in April 1998; and possession of the Lisburn bomb with intent.
He sat in the dock only yards in front of the public gallery, where Michael Gallagher, whose son 21-year-old Aiden died in the blast, looked on.
After the hearing Mr Gallagher said: “This is part of our life for the past 15 and half years and if it’s happening we are going to be there, wherever that is.
“It was important for our presence for the people, in our case our son Aiden, it was important to be there and represent him because there was no one else going to do it.”
Mr Gallagher said the latest legal proceedings linked to the case would not sidetrack the families’ campaign for a cross-border public inquiry into alleged security failings in the lead-up and aftermath of the attack.
“We need the truth,” he said.
19 May 2012
DUBLIN (AP) — Seven Irish republicans were arraigned Saturday on terrorism charges after a security sweep against militants whom officials suspect of plotting to sabotage Northern Ireland’s peace process.
Three were charged in a court in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, near Belfast, with “directing terror,” a charge never levied against anyone suspected of being Irish Republican Army members in Northern Ireland.
Use of the charge suggests that the police and Britain’s domestic spy agency, MI5, believe they have caught senior members of the Real I.R.A. faction, an Irish Republican Army splinter group.
Three of those arraigned were relatives of Colin Duffy, who is said to be a senior Real I.R.A. figure. The three — Mr. Duffy’s brothers, Paul, 47, and Damien, 42, and his cousin Shane Duffy, 41 — were charged with preparing acts of terrorism, conspiring to murder and conspiring to cause explosions. Paul Duffy also was charged with directing terrorism.
In Omagh, the Northern Ireland town where the Real I.R.A. committed its deadliest bombing, in 1998, four people were arraigned on charges of preparing acts of terrorism, possessing a rifle and ammunition, and attending a Real I.R.A. training camp.
Two of them, Sharon Rafferty, 37, and Sean Kelly, 46, were also charged with directing terror. The Real I.R.A. killed 29 people, mostly women and children, in an Aug. 15, 1998, car bombing in the center of Omagh, Northern Ireland. After lying low for almost a decade, the group resumed attacks in 2007.
Police officers testified they had recordings of Mr. Rafferty and Mr. Kelly discussing how to target officers and finance Real I.R.A. operations. Mr. Kelly is a former convicted member of the Provisional I.R.A., which renounced violence in 2005.
Seldom-used law that put loyalist Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair behind bars in 1990s is used to charged 47-year-old man
18 May 2012
Anti-terrorist laws used to jail the top loyalist Johnny “Mad Dog” Adair have been used to charge a suspected republican dissident.
The 47-year-old from the Lurgan area of County Armagh will face charges of “directing acts of terrorism’ – a relatively unused piece of legislation that put Adair behind bars for several years in the 1990s.
The suspect, along with two other men aged 41 and 42, will appear at Lisburn magistrates court on Saturday morning. All three men face charges of conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to cause an explosion, the preparation of terrorist attacks and collecting information of use to terrorism, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said on Friday night.
The PSNI said the charges “are a result of an investigation led by police into dissident republican terrorist activity”.
A PSNI spokeswoman said the police had worked closely with colleagues in MI5 and the Public Prosecution Service to reach a point where charges had been brought.
The arrests in Lurgan centre on a suspected unit of the Continuity IRA, which has a small but active presence in the North Armagh area. The terror group was responsible in March 2009 for murdering the PSNI officer Stephen Carroll.
The “directing acts of terrorism” charge is highly controversial and has been criticised by some civil liberties groups in the past. Under the legislation a suspect can be arrested and held on remand and then face charges on the word of a senior police commander from the rank of superintendent who will tell the court he or she believes the person detained is directing terrorist organisations.
Meanwhile, three men and a woman remain in custody after arrests in Carrickmore, Toome, Omagh and Pomeroy as part of a drive by the security forces against dissident republican terrorist groups opposed to the peace process and power sharing in Northern Ireland.
The detentions in counties Tyrone and Antrim are part of a parallel security operation against a breakaway faction of the Real IRA with a stronghold in the east Tyrone area.
13 May 2012
Republican vigilantes conducting a campaign of shootings and beatings have in the past year forced more than 200 young men out of Derry, which will become Britain’s City of Culture in 2013, the Guardian can reveal.
At least 85 men have been shot over the same period in “punishment” attacks by Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD), according to police figures.
In some instances those targeted, mostly in their teens or early 20s, have been forced to turn up with a parent or relative for a pre-arranged appointment to be wounded for alleged drug dealing and other supposed crimes.
Martin McGuinness, the Provisional IRA ex-chief of staff turned deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, made an unprecedented move calling on the public in his native city to inform on the republican paramilitaries responsible. Figures from community organisations in Derry mediating between RAAD, the Real IRA and the victims show up to four men are being forced out of the city every week.
As Derry prepares to be the UK’s City of Culture, the families of those under attack, including the mother of a RAAD victim who was murdered in February, say they are existing “in a city of fear”.
Derry-based John Lindsay, author of “No Dope Here”, a new book on the violence, who has shown his research to the Guardian, said: “On average there are about four young men being forced out of the city by RAAD and other vigilante groups per week.
“The figures are being recorded by at least two community groups who are called into liaise between the organisations and the men.
“There are, on a conservative basis, more than 200 who were put out of Derry over the last 12 months. They are going to places as diverse as Belfast, Armagh, Dublin and of course England, anywhere where they have friends or relatives to flee to. And they are told if they don’t leave they will be shot or even killed.”
The vigilante campaign turned murderous last February when RAAD gunmen shot dead a former Derry boxer, Andrew Allen, 24, just across the border in a relative’s house in Co Donegal. His family say hardline republicans were so affronted when he stood up to them that they decided to kill him. Allen’s mother, Donna Smith, said the peace process no longer meant anything to her or her family.
“How can they call this the City of Culture when they (RAAD) are going around butchering children? Something has to be done, it has to be stopped before another family is sitting in the situation that we are in: me without a son, my other children without a brother and two small children without a father.”
There have been several demonstrations against the attacks, including one last month. Just before, an 18-year-old was shot in both legs.
Although some RAAD members are ex-IRA members who supported the end of its “war” against Britain and declined to join the anti-peace process Real IRA, McGuinness has issued his sternest condemnation yet of the vigilante campaign.
He said: “I think it is quite obvious the community is beginning to rise up against this and as a result of that it is quite clear that RAAD are about to make the biggest mistake of their lives. They are about to bite off more than they can chew because if the community in Derry turns against you then you are going absolutely nowhere.
“And I think they (RAAD) do need to be going somewhere and they need to be going to prison. And I would hope as a result of the rise in opposition to the activities of RAAD that people will come forward to give all the information they have about this group.”
McGuinness, the Provisional IRA’s second-in-command in the city on Bloody Sunday, described the republican vigilantes as “the new oppressors of the people of Derry”.
The police have vowed to prosecute those responsible. However, there have been no prosecutions for the “punishment” attacks” and no one has been charged in connection with Allen’s murder.
FEUD: Gunmen in U-turn as rival’s wife and child at home
GANGLAND criminals abandoned a plan to shoot dead a Real IRA mobster after realising his wife and child were in his house.
The dissident was not at home when his rivals, under order from Dublin’s new ‘Mr Big’, came looking for him.
Gardai are on high alert after the feud between dissident terrorists and one of Ireland’s biggest crime gangs escalated in recent weeks.
It is understood that weapons were collected at a northside cemetery and an elaborate plan “to whack” the RIRA mobster was put in place. However, it was only called off when it was discovered that the criminal was not at home but his wife and child were there.
The hit was ordered after the Coolock drugs lord who leads the crime gang was beaten up by a senior member of the dissident mob in a north Dublin nightclub after the gangster challenged the 29-year-old Real IRA mobster to a ‘straightener’.
The burly Republican hardman can’t be named here for legal reasons but we can reveal that he is from Baldoyle and is closely connected to a dangerous band of brothers who control the Real IRA in Dublin.
This incident happened in the same prominent club where the feud kicked off during the Christmas period when the crime gang beat up a close associate of the RIRA faction.
Sources say that the gang boss fled Dublin for Alicante in Spain via Belfast just two days after the incident which led to the drug dealer’s mob trying to shoot a key member of the Real IRA at his home.
A source explained: “He (the crime boss) made a serious mistake when he called for a straightener. He got the crap beat out of him and was forced to flee the country. Now it seems that the Real IRA boys have the complete upper hand — one of their main men has been strutting around Donaghmede in recent days. Walking around on his own without even a bullet proof vest on him — it shows that they are no longer worried about the drugs gang.”
The Herald has previously revealed that the drugs boss at war with the Real IRA was “mentored” by a veteran criminal now based in Co Cavan who introduced Tiger kidnappings to Ireland.
Since then, the gang boss is suspected of organising a spate of Tiger kidnappings, including one in Drogheda, Co Louth, last August in which an An Post clerk was forced to hand over €500,000 and was told his fiancee and 12-week-old daughter would die if he did not hand over the cash.
He is linked to a crew of contract killers nicknamed the Taliban gang who are suspected of being involved in seven gruesome gangland murders including the double murders of small time criminals Joseph Redmond (25) and Anthony Burnett (31) — the two men who were shot and burned in a forest near Dundalk, Co Louth last March.
9 May 2012
A bank official shot by the Real IRA just outside Dublin was targeted in a case of mistaken identity, Irish police have said.
Gardai arrested two men linked to dissidents after Keith Deegan, 32, was shot three times at the front door of his home in the Corbally Green area of Tallaght on April 10.
They have since been released without charge.
The man’s fiancee Lynette Maloney and eight-year-old son were in the house at the time of the shooting and Gardai say it is the latest in a series of fatal cases of mistaken identity which has led to the killing of four other people, including a 16-year-old girl.
Sources believe Mr Deegan was targeted because he drives a car similar to that of another man who lives in the area who has fallen out with the terror grouping.
13 April 2012
DUP MP Gregory Campbell wants the PSNI to explain why it did not attempt to arrest a member of the Real IRA in Derry’s City Cemetery this week.
The masked man read out a statement in which the organisation said it would continue to attempt to kill police officers.
A masked man reads a Real IRA statement during yesterday’s 32 CSM commemoration at the City Cemetery.
The statement was made at a 32 County Sovereignty Movement (32 CSM) Easter commemoration.
Mr Campbell said that a similar message was delivered at the same location last year and since then attempts had been made to kill police officers and soldiers.
While police monitored the events at the cemetery from a helicopter and later arrested six men, who were subsequently released without charge, Gregory Campbell said the PSNI had 12 months to prepare for the same situation arising again.
“Given that this happened 12 months ago, most people would expect police to be aware and expect something similar,” he said.
In response, Derry’s police chief Garry Eaton said: “Any breaches of criminal law reported to the police or coming to our attention will be rigorously and thoroughly investigated. The PSNI work to ensure that all their actions are appropriate, proportionate and lawful. Our priorities are to protect the public, preserve public order, uphold the human rights of all and gather evidence of any wrongdoing.”
The masked man who delivered the Real IRA statement said the organisation planned to work with other dissident organisations.
Calling for republican unity, he said: “Continued divisions within republicanism only serve the interests of our enemies. There is only one Irish Republican Army and it is present in this cemetery today.”
13 Apr 2012
The family of a Derry man shot dead by the Real IRA have said a memorial to him has been vandalised twice in the past 10 days.
The body of 31-year-old Kieran Doherty was found naked and bound near the Irish border in February 2010.
Mr Doherty’s family erected a small monument on the spot where he was found on the Braehead Road.
His uncle Vinnie Coyle has condemned those behind the attacks on it and appealed to them to stop.
“Ten days ago this was desecrated, destroyed and some family members got together and replaced it so the wider family wouldn’t be aware of it, because it has caused such pain,” he said.
“Since that, in the last few days it has been smashed up again.
“We have replaced it again and we have put it there in place and the family would appeal to whoever is behind these attacks on this little memorial to stop doing this.”
April 09 2012
Police in Northern Ireland have arrested six people after a masked man at a republican commemoration threatened further violence by dissidents opposed to the peace process.
The event to mark the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising against British rule in Ireland was addressed by a hooded spokesman for the Real IRA who pledged further attacks on police and soldiers.
Police said they chose to maintain a distance from the event in the Creggan cemetery in Derry, but a security force helicopter monitored the scene. A senior detective has confirmed six men were later arrested and taken to Antrim for questioning.
The Easter Monday event was organised by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement and republicans gathered for a march and a wreath-laying ceremony. The man clad in a balaclava and black combat gear who later read a statement on behalf of the Real IRA said its campaign of violence would continue.
“The IRA will continue to attack Crown Force personnel, their installations, as well as British interests and infrastructure,” he said.
The group is responsible for a series of attacks including the murder of soldiers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar outside Massereene army base in Antrim in 2009 only hours before the men were to fly out to begin a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
A spokesman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said senior officers had taken the decision to run “a low-key operational response to the event”.
They added: “Any alleged breaches of criminal law reported to police or coming to our attention will be rigorously and thoroughly investigated.
“The PSNI work to ensure that all their actions are appropriate, proportionate and lawful. Our priorities are to protect the public, preserve public order, uphold the human rights of all and gather evidence of any wrongdoing.”
The police area commander Chief Inspector Gary Eaton said an investigation had been launched and confirmed the arrests made in connection with the case.
23 Mar 2012
A stained glass window created in memory of two Spanish victims killed in the 1998 Omagh bomb has been unveiled in Madrid.
Thirteen-year-old Fernando Blasco Baselga and Rocio Abad Ramos, who was 23 and on an exchange trip, died in the Real IRA attack.
They were two of the 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, who were killed.
The stained glass window has been unveiled in Madrid
The stained glass windows have been designed and created by the families of victims of the Buncrana, Omagh, Claudy and Madrid bomb attacks and one has now been placed in each of the towns.
Michael Gallagher, who lost his son Aidan, joined the family Blasco Baselga family at CEU San Pablo University in Madrid on Thursday.
“It was a lovely service,” he said.
“There were 200 to 300 people there. Around 7,500 students will pass the window at some stage during their week.”
Fernando’s father, Manuel Blasco, was hurt in a terrorist bomb attack in Madrid in 1992.
He had sent his two sons and daughter to Ireland in 1998 to improve their English.
16 Mar 2012
A Lithuanian court has said it wants to question Real IRA member Liam Campbell over his younger brother Michael, who was jailed for 12 years by Vilnius for a plot to smuggle arms from the Baltic state.
Justice Viktoras Kazys ruled that the testimony of Liam Campbell and another Irishman was key to an appeal launched by Michael Campbell against his prison term.
“The court will take the necessary measures for them to be questioned. The court believes questioning is necessary,” Judge Kazys said.
Liam Campbell is one of the four leaders of the Real IRA found liable by a civil court for the 1998 Omagh bombing, which killed 29 people.
In October 2011, a Lithuanian court convicted his younger brother Michael Campbell, 39, of attempted smuggling, aiding a terrorist organisation and illegal possession of arms.
However Michael Campbell appealed, insisting on his innocence and claiming he was framed in a money-making scheme run by prosecution witness Robert Jardine – identified in court as a British MI5 agent posing as a smuggler.
Michael Campbell was arrested in a January 2008 sting in Vilnius as he met a Lithuanian agent who posed as an arms dealer. He went on trial in August 2009.
Liam Campbell and another Irishman, Brendan McGuigan, are suspects in a separate pre-trial investigation in the arms smuggling case by the Lithuanian authorities.
Michael Campbell’s defence hailed today’s move, but said it was belated.
“The court’s decision is logical. Today we have the testimony of only one person but don’t know the position of the others,” lawyer Ingrida Botyriene told AFP.
Michael Campbell has vowed he was not acting for the Real IRA.
The New Age
1 Mar 2012
An Irishman jailed for 12 years in Lithuania for plotting to smuggle arms to paramilitary group the Real IRA appeared in an appeals court Thursday, seeking to prove he was set up by British intelligence.
“Michael Campbell claims that the crimes were not committed of his own free will but were provoked by agents of the United Kingdom’s intelligence service,” appeals judge Viktoras Kazys said as he outlined the defence arguments.
Prosecutors have also appealed the October 21 sentence which fell short of the 16-year term they had sought the original judges underlined that the plot did not bear fruit and the security services were involved.
Campbell, 39, waved to photographers and smiled as he was brought handcuffed into court in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.
Arrested in a January 2008 sting in Vilnius as as he met a Lithuanian agent who posed as an arms dealer, he went on trial in August 2009.
He was convicted of attempted smuggling, aiding a terrorist organisation and illegal possession of arms.
Campbell insists he was not acting for the Real Irish Republican Army, which in 1997 broke with the Provisional IRA, once the main armed group opposed to British rule in Northern Ireland, over a peace deal.
Campbell has dismissed any role of his elder brother Liam, one of four Real IRA leaders found liable by a civil court for a 1998 bombing in Omagh, Northern Ireland, which killed 29 people.
Michael Campbell alleges he was framed in a money-making scheme run by prosecution witness Robert Jardine identified in court as a smuggler and British agent. “We got acquainted through the cigarettes business,” said Campbell, a convicted tobacco smuggler.
When asked if his plans with Jardine were legal, he told the judge they involved “contraband” but refused to elaborate.
Campbell has claimed Jardine suggested using a Real IRA cover to impress the supposed arms dealers. His lawyer Ingrida Botyriene called for more information from Britain about Jardine.
“There is no document in the case which would define the limits of authorisation given to this person,” she said. But prosecutor Gedgaudas Norkunas said confirmation that Jardine’s role was legal was enough. -AFP
24 Feb 2012
Detectives investigating the murder of Kieran Doherty in Derry have issued a renewed appeal for information on the second anniversary of his death.
Mr Doherty, 31, was found dead on the Braehead Road on 24 February 2010.
Kieran Doherty was killed by the Real IRA in February 2010
He had been shot in an attack which was claimed by the Real IRA.
Police carried out a number of searches and made three arrests in relation to Mr Doherty’s killing but no one has been charged with the murder.
The detective leading the investigation said police still needed assistance and information from the community to make progress.
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Harrison, of the PSNI’s serious crime branch, said: “Two years after this horrific murder, detectives are still working on the case. Progress would be quicker and more substantial if those individuals who know what happened to Kieran, and who killed him, would talk to us.”
Mr Doherty had been in the family home at Coshowen until about 20:00 GMT on 24 February when he went out. A passer-by found his body on the Braehead Road around 22:40 GMT.
DCI Harrison said: “We want to speak to anyone who was on that road anytime from 20:00 GMT that evening and saw anything suspicious or who knows of Kieran’s movements after he left his home.
“There has been speculation about Kieran’s death but police need evidence to bring charges and get justice for Kieran and his family.”
• Anyone with information on what happened to Kieran Doherty is asked to contact detectives at Maydown on 0845 600 8000.
February 07 2012
TWO suspected associates of the dissident Real IRA were being questioned last night by gardai investigating the murder of one of Ireland’s biggest gangsters, writes Tom Brady.
The two, who are in their 20s, were detained in swoops by armed detectives on the northside of Dublin yesterday morning.
They were arrested in connection with the shooting of Michael “Mica” Kelly, who was gunned down after he left an apartment block last September.
He had been visiting his son and the baby’s mother at Marrsfield Avenue in Clongriffin.
Kelly had been warned by gardai that his life was in danger and knew there was a “contract” on his head as a result of a row between his gang and the Real IRA.
Friday January 20 2012
DISSIDENT republican Brian Shivers was convicted today of murdering two British soldiers outside an army base in Northern Ireland. His conviction came after co-defendent Colin Duffy, a high-profile republican, was cleared of the same charges.
Shivers was found guilty at Antrim Crown Court of the killings of sappers Patrick Azimkar, (21), from London, and Mark Quinsey, (23), from Birmingham, who were ambushed by gunmen from the Real IRA at the gates of Massereene barracks in Antrim on March 7 2009.
Judge Anthony Hart told the court that he was satisfied that Duffy’s DNA was found on a latex glove tip inside the car and on a seat buckle but he said the prosecution had failed to link the defendant to the murder plot.
He said: “I consider that there is insufficient evidence to satisfy me beyond reasonable doubt that whatever Duffy may have done when he wore the latex glove, or touched the seatbelt buckle, meant that he was preparing the car in some way for this murderous attack. And I therefore find him not guilty.”
The non-jury trial lasted six weeks. It ended just before Christmas and Mr Justice Hart took four weeks to consider his verdicts.
The soldiers from the 38 Engineer Regiment were about to begin a tour of duty in Afghanistan when they were gunned down in an attack by republican extremists opposed to the Good Friday peace deal of 1998.
The victims, who were wearing their desert fatigues and were within hours of leaving the base, were collecting pizzas at the front gate when they came under fire.
Four other people, including two pizza delivery drivers, were injured in the gun attack.
A green Vauxhall Cavalier car thought to have been used by the gang was found abandoned in a rural location eight miles away.
The gunmen set light to the car, but it did not burn out. DNA evidence recovered from it formed the basis for the trial of the two accused.
It is the second time Duffy has been cleared of murder.
The 44-year-old first hit the headlines 20 years ago after he was cleared of an IRA murder.
An IRA gunman on a bicycle shot former soldier John Lyness, 57, in Lurgan in June 1993.
Duffy, described in court as an unemployed labourer, was subsequently convicted of the murder. But the prosecution case hinged on the testimony of anonymous witnesses who gave evidence from behind a curtain – and in particular on the evidence of a man known only as Witness C.
He turned out to be Lindsay Robb, who was subsequently jailed after police in Scotland smashed a UVF gun-running plot in July 1995.
Following a public campaign for his release, backed by nationalist political leaders here and in Northern Ireland, Duffy’s conviction was quashed because the prosecution could no longer rely on a star witness publicly revealed to be a loyalist paramilitary.
Duffy walked from the Court of Appeal in Belfast a free man and later gave an impromptu press conference outside the gates of the High Court, alleging police wrongdoing and insisting he was innocent.
Three years earlier, Duffy, then aged 22, was caught up in a loyalist gun attack that remains, to this day, shrouded in controversy.
He and two other republicans were reporting to Lurgan’s Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) station to sign in as part of bail conditions on charges of possession of ammunition.
The trio were followed by a red Maestro car, later revealed to be a military intelligence vehicle, before a second car also appeared on the scene.
Two masked men armed with AK-47 assault rifles stepped out of the second vehicle and pursued the three republicans.
Amid a hail of bullets, a friend of Duffy called Sam Marshall was wounded and fell to the ground. One of the gunmen stood over the 31-year-old and levelled the weapon at his head. A witness claimed: “He faced the masked man, and the masked man killed him.”
Duffy escaped the murder bid launched by the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), but the alleged security force link saw Sinn Fein call for a full inquiry at the time.
Friday January 20 2012
Two men accused of the murders of two soldiers at a Northern Ireland military base are due to find out the court’s verdict.
Sappers Patrick Azimkar, 21, from London, and Mark Quinsey, 23, from Birmingham, were ambushed by gunmen from the dissident republican Real IRA outside the Massereene barracks in Antrim on March 7, 2009.
Mr Justice Anthony Hart, sitting at Antrim courthouse, will tell Colin Duffy, 44, and Brian Shivers, 46, if he has found them guilty or not guilty of the murders.
Duffy, from Forest Glade in Lurgan, Co Armagh, and Shivers, from Sperrin Mews in Magherafelt, Co Derry, deny the murder charges and six further counts of attempted murder.
The troops from 38 Engineer Regiment were about to begin a tour of duty in Afghanistan when they were gunned down in an attack by the Real IRA group, which opposes the Good Friday peace deal of 1998.
The soldiers, who were wearing their desert fatigues and were within hours of leaving the base, were collecting pizzas at the front gate when they came under fire.
Four other people, including two pizza delivery drivers, were injured in the gun attack.
A green Vauxhall Cavalier car thought to have been used by the gang was found abandoned in a rural location eight miles away.
The gunmen set light to the car, but it did not burn out. DNA evidence recovered from it formed the basis for the trial of the two accused.
Up to 16,000 pages of evidence are being examined as part of an investigation into the death of a man whose body was found in Newry Canal, a coroner heard.
Gareth O’Connor (24), who had been charged in the Republic with being a member of the Real IRA, vanished while en route to Dundalk Garda station in 2003.
A preliminary hearing of the inquest into the Co Armagh man’s fate was held yesterday in Belfast.
Family solicitor Paul Dougan said: “The document page count is colossal, maybe 15-16,000 pages of material has been printed out, a lot of it is not hugely relevant but it is a huge exercise to familiarise yourself with its contents and that process is ongoing.”
Mr O’Connor’s family believed he was abducted and killed by the Provisional IRA. It had been feared the father of two had been “disappeared” forever before a tip-off led police to a section of the Newry Canal off the Omeath Road.
Detectives recovered a submerged blue Volkswagen Golf, the car Mr O’Connor was last seen driving through the south Armagh border village of Newtownhamilton on May 11, 2003. Inside lay his badly decomposed body.
11 Jan 2012
The PSNI has failed in a court action to force the BBC to hand over video shot at a Real IRA parade in Derry in April 2011.
The police had claimed it could be used to identify masked men by the way they walked or by facial features under balaclavas.
The case arose after 10 men dressed in paramilitary uniform paraded in Derry’s City cemetery.
It took place during a 32 County Sovereignty movement commemoration.
One of them then delivered a speech on behalf of the Real IRA threatening anyone who gave support to the PSNI including members of the GAA and Catholic hierarchy.
They also threatened the Queen ahead of her visit to the Republic.
Detectives have been attempting to prosecute those involved and had sought unbroadcast video shot by the media on the day.
The BBC challenged this on the grounds doing so would endanger its staff and that the PSNI was fully aware of the likely nature of the parade and had failed to prevent it or film it themselves.
A detective told the court the nearest police officer was probably a mile away in Strand Road station and that the police had relied on a helicopter to observe the event.
The BBC provided Belfast Recorder, Judge Tom Burgess, with evidence that the parade in the two previous years had included paramilitary elements and threatening speeches.
They argued that the police should not rely on media material for prosecutions when they know in advance that a crime is likely to take place.
A PSNI detective said she believed the walking style of the men involved could be analysed in order to arrest them as could their facial features.
However, Judge Burgess ruled that he had been given insufficient evidence to prove the video could assist experts in identifying the men and that the police had failed to show that the video would be of substantial value in its investigation.
Tuesday, 3 January 2012
Penetration by the Security Service, MI5, and a switch to anti-capitalist targets has tempered the renegade republican threat – for now. Henry McDonald reports
Don’t say it too loud, but in the second half of 2011 the disparate factions of anti-ceasefire republicanism have been relatively quiet.
So does this inaction reflect recent successes for the security forces? Or does the lack of armed activities since the murder of Constable Ronan Kerr in April suggest a revision, or a rethink, in the strategies of the Continuity IRA, Real IRA or Oghlaigh na hEireann?
In terms of the first question, the most obvious place to look at is the Republic and, in particular, Dublin. Across the Republic’s capital, at least two of the hardline republican groups are engaged in diversionary struggles both among themselves and with criminal gangs in the city.
The Continuity IRA in Dublin insists it remains united, but there is a breakaway grouping which also has a base in Limerick city that is engaged in a shooting war with its larger rival.
This splintering has recently spread north into Maghaberry jail, with five republican inmates moved out of the main house holding dissident prisoners.
Their departure – under threat of death – is being linked to the battle between the CIRA and former colleagues. Given what we know about the often amoral and manipulative nature of the security forces’ secret ‘war’ against armed republican factions, it is not too fanciful to find the origins of this latest feuding as the work of agent provocateurs in the pay of the state.
What is undoubtedly clear is that the Garda Siochana has made significant in-roads into the main dissident movements on the other side of the border, particularly in the capital.
Judging by the number of arrests in the south of dissident suspects and the terror operations the Garda thwarted this year, it is obvious that this is all in large part due to the recruitment of informers in the organisation’s ranks.
All the security analyses to date concur with the view that the Garda has made serious intelligence in-roads into the three main terror groups.
After Christmas, the Garda reported that the threat from armed non-political criminal gangs is now a greater threat to law and order than the dissidents.
Over the last decade, up to 200 people have been killed in the crime-wars blighting working-class districts of greater Dublin and Limerick – most of which remain unsolved.
This gangland war has been boosted by a new mini-industry: the sub-contracting of hitmen and bomb-makers formerly linked to terrorist organisations now working for the crime-gangs.
Many ex-terrorists capable of close-quarter killings, or building bombs, have found more lucrative careers as crime sub-contractors, rather than inside the ranks of the anti-ceasefire republican movements.
Of course, the greatest barrier to the anti-peace process republicans remains the nationalist population, in particular within Northern Ireland.
While there has been some worrying signs of support among economically and socially-alienated republican youth for the dissidents, the overwhelming majority of nationalists back the political settlement at Stormont and still vote for Sinn Fein.
The dissident guerrilla is, therefore, swimming in very shallow water with few outlets for logistical help and support from their host communities.
The other main reason for a downturn in dissident terrorism in the second half of 2011, posited at the start of this piece, may also have some validity.
In an interview with the Real IRA back in the early autumn, amid bellicose threats to bankers and the banking system, there was a telling comment on the internal debate ongoing within all strands of dissident republicanism.
The Real IRA representative revealed that there were discussions about the future, including the efficacy of the ‘armed struggle’.
There was a passing remark that some were arguing for a more economically-driven campaign against strategic capitalist targets like the banks – a kind of Irish Baader-Meinhoff-style of Leftist terrorism for the 21st century.
Those advocating such a departure are clearly hoping to capitalise on the widespread hatred directed at the banks and other capitalist institutions on the island.
This is why the Real IRA admitted a few months ago that it targeted the Santander bank in explosions at Derry and Newry this year as it seeks to identify itself with growing anti-capitalist sentiment.
There was even a hint that some within the dissident groups were questioning the continuation of the armed campaigns, with some arguing for a purely political struggle aimed (somewhat optimistically perhaps) at challenging Sinn Fein’s hegemony.
It is difficult to determine if one representative from only one of the disparate factions was accurately reflecting the mixed state of thinking within dissident republicanism.
But clearly there are debates going both inside the terror groups and among those who have renounced ‘armed struggle’ but still oppose Sinn Fein’s political strategy.
Whether this will produce a new peace process aimed at winding down the dissidents’ ‘war’ is open to question.
Certainly, the more fundamentalist republican organisations, like CIRA, remain wedded almost in a theocratic-article of faith way to continuing ‘armed struggle’.
All of the organisations opposed to the political settlement at Stormont remain for now incoherent, divided, often fractious and that alone is still cause for hope to those that want to keep Northern Ireland stable.
21 Dec 2011
GARDAÍ ARE to prepare a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions after releasing without charge a man arrested for questioning about the discovery of an explosive device in Cork during the visit of Queen Elizabeth last May.
The 37-year-old man was arrested on Monday morning by detectives in the Rochestown area of Cork city and detained at the Bridewell Garda station under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act for suspected membership of the Real IRA.
The man was questioned about the discovery of a device made from a training grenade at a car park at University College Cork early on May 19th after a number of phone calls were made to the Samaritans, a local radio station and Cork University Hospital.
The explosive device was made safe by members of the explosive ordnance disposal team from Collins Barracks and was later removed for forensic examination.
Gardaí examined phone records to try to identify the caller who alerted the Samaritans, the radio station and the hospital to the existence of the device, and they also examined CCTV footage.
Dissident republicans also sent emails to a local radio station about the device, saying it had been planted on the grounds of UCC because of the visit the next day by the queen to the Tyndall National Institute, which is located about a kilometre away.
Yesterday’s arrest is the third by gardaí investigating incidents during the queen’s visit to Cork on May 20th.
One man has already been sent forward for trial to the Special Criminal Court in relation to a bomb hoax at Cork airport as the queen was preparing to leave.
Gardaí also arrested a 29-year-old man from Douglas who was armed with an imitation firearm near the Tyndall institute during the visit. He was released and a file prepared for the DPP.