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Teens accused of making explosives

A 19-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman arrested in connection with dissident republican activity were last night charged with making explosives.

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The pair are to appear before Newry Magistrates Court today. They are charged with making explosives with intent to endanger life and two counts of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property. The teenagers were arrested at a house just outside Forkhill, South Armagh, on Wednesday. Items including a grinder, fertiliser and singer were taken away for examination. Meanwhile a key witness to a dissident republican murder is one of three men arrested by gardai n Co Louth in relation to paramilitary activity. Damien O’Neill was detained on Thursday as part of a crossborder crackdown on dissident republicans. In 2007 he was shot in the neck by the Continuity IRA (CIRA). North Belfast man Eddie Burns was murdered during the same attack. A short time later his friend Joe Jones was lured to an entry at Elmfield Street in North Belfast and beaten to death with a spade by a member of the same gang.

Gerard Macklin was found guilty of Mr Burn’s murder in a Dublin court in 2008 but his conviction was quashed in 2010 and a retrail ordered. The new trial collapsed in January 2011 when O’Neill refused to testify. He told three judges at the High Court in Belfast: “I have been threatened that if’ I give evidence I will be shot dead.” Both victims were murdered shortly after leaving the Continuity IRA (CIRA). A Yards spokesman said: “As part of ongoing investigations and cross border cooperation with the Police Service of Northern Ireland into the activity of dissident republicans, yards at Dundalk arrested three males on the evening of the December 19 2013. “The arrests were made in the Carrickarnon area. “The three men, who range in age from early twenties to mid fifties, are currently detained at Dundalk Garda Station.” Yesterday morning the PSNI/RUC arrested two men in connection with a May 16 gun attack on police at Foxes Glen in Twinbrook, on the outskirts of West Belfast. The men aged 20 and 21, were detained in Lisburn, Co Antrim. A 45-year-old man arrested in connection with a gun attack on police in Ardoyne on December 5 has been released without charge.

With many thanks to: The Irish News.

Top dissident republicans taken off the streets

British Internment alive and ongoing in the 32 Counties of Ireland !!!

THREE of the North’s most senior dissident republicans have been taken off the streets after a second Belfast city centre attack. With a manhunt under way on both sides of the border for a firebomber injured by his own device, the three dissident chiefs were charged on Tuesday with an array of serious offences.

Colin Duffy, Alec McCrory and Harry Fitzsimmons all have a history of republican activism dating back to the Provisional IRA. Dissident republicans have been particularly active in the run-up to Christmas with shots fired at police in North and West Belfast, a bomb left in an entertainment area of the city on one of the busiest nights of the year and an attempt on Monday to firebomb a city centre shop. The trio, in their forties and fifties, were arrested on Sunday, 48 hours after a bomb exploded in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter while it was packed with Christmas parties. Duffy is accused of IRA membership and plotting to murder security-force members. McCrory and Fitzimmons are charged with attempting to murder police officers travelling on Crumlin Road in North Belfast on December 5. All three are also charged with conspiracy to possess firearms and explosives with intent to endanger life and belonging to a proscribed organisation. McCrory and Fitzisimmons face further charges of aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm. The alleged offences cover a period between January 1 and December 16 this year.

Amid heavy security at Belfast Magistrates Court, supporters of the three accused packed the public gallery on Tuesday. At one stage the defendents declined to stand up as some of the charges were put to them. A detective said he could connect them to the charges and no applications for bail were made during the short hearing. The trio waved at friends who clapped as they were remanded in custody to appear again by videolink in four weeks’ time. Meanwhile, two arrests were made outside the court complex as tensions heightened briefly. There were minor scuffles amid a heavy police presence at the Oxford Street exit as supporters of Duffy, McCrory and Fitzimmions left the building. North Belfast men Daniel Lundy and Aidan Fergusion, both from Ardoyne, were arrested and taken to Musgrave Police Station and charged with assaulting police, disorderly behaviour and resisting police. They were released on bail to appear before Belfast Magistrates Court on January 13.

With many thanks to: The Irish News.

Dissident gun attacks ‘not linked’ says police

Dissident republicans suspected of opening fire on vehicles.

‘A worrying trend is beginning to appear in regards to such attacks on the police across the city – Alex Attwood.

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The PSNI last night said they are not linking two similar gun attacks on polce vehicles carried out just a day apart in Belfast.

Two shots struck a Land Rover when gunmen opened fire on the Suffolk Road in West Belfast at around 11.45pm on Friday. A day eariler, a “Kalashnikov-style” automatic weapon was used to fire at least 10 rounds at three police vehicles as they passed along the Crumlin Road in North Belfast. It later emerged that gunmen had set up a makeshift platform to fire over a wall at the vehicles. No-one was injured during either attack. A 34-year-old man was arrested in North Belfast yesterday morning in connection with Thursday night’s attack on police. He was still being questioned at Antrim police station last night. It emerged last night that separate investigations have been launched into the gun attacks. A police spokeswoman said: “Police are not formally linking the attacks and both investigations are at a very early stage”. Dissident republicans are being blamed, with Chief Constable Matt Maggot warning recently that different groupings appear to in some form of competition with each other to ensure they have a profile. In recent weeks there has been a upsurge in republican paramilitary activity in Belfast.

In October ‘The IRA’, which was formed last year after the Real IRA, Direct Action Against Drugs and other independant republicans merged, claimed responsibility for shooting dead alleged drug dealer Kevin Kearney in North Belfast. Another group, Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH), last month said it was behind an attempted car-bomb attack at Victoria Square shopping centre in Belfast city centre. West Belfast SDLP assembly member Alex Attwood said Friday’s ambush could have resulted in fatalities. “Thosse engaged in this type of reckless violence are not advancing any political ideal, they are hurting the community they claim to represent,” he said. “A worrying trend is beginning to appear in regards to such attacks on the police accross the city.” Shame Fein assembly member Jennifer McCann said those behind the attack “are not motivated by a disire for Irish freedom”. “If they were they would listen to their communities who overwhelmingly endorsed the Good Friday Agreement and a political path towards achieving that goal. “Instead they have endagered anyone in the area of the Suffolk Road at that time for their own agenda. Fortunately nobody was injured.” PSNI Chief Superintendent George Clarke described Friday night’s ambush as “reckless”. “For the second night in a row, dedicated community police officers have found themselves under attack from terrorists,” he said. “It is fortunate that we are not dealing with fatalities this morning and those responsible are to be utterly condemned for their evil and reckless actions. “These officers go out each day to serve this community and they should be free to do so without the threat of attack. “I again urge the community to support us. We need information from the community to help us defeat those who seek to take us back to the past by showing them that they do not represent the wishs of this community.”

With thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.

Five face serious dissident charges

Five men will appear in court on Saturday on charges connected to a major investigation into dissident republican activity.

Three aged 41, 42 and 47 face counts of conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to cause an explosion, preparation of terrorist acts and collecting information of use to terrorism.

http://www.u.tv/utvplayer/everywhere/player.aspx?vidid=144373&chapid=118496&arti_id=dcca1ad0-c0ad-4789-8b88-9d9851010fb7&clientid=100000

The 47-year-old has also been charged with directing terrorism.

What is unusual about this is that the police have thanked the Security Service – MI5. They rarely make any reference to the intelligence services, particularly at this stage in the process.

UTV’s Sharon O’Neill

The trio were arrested in Lurgan, Co Armagh, on Monday.

A PSNI statement said: “The charges, some of which have been used seldom in the past in Northern Ireland, are the result of an investigation led by police into dissident republican terrorist activity.

“Officers have worked closely with colleagues in the Security Service and, latterly, with the Public Prosecution Service to reach a point where charges have been brought.”

A further two men aged 33 and 34, who were arrested in Carrickmore and Omagh last Saturday, have been charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, attendance at a place used for terrorist training and preparation of terrorist acts.

They will appear at court in Omagh, also on Saturday.

Police added that a 37-year-old woman and a 46-year-old man arrested in Pomeroy and Toome last weekend as part of the same investigation remain in custody.

The investigation is ongoing.

WITH MANY THANKS TO : UTV News

Old Bailey bomber ‘unfit for trial’

Marian Price‘s mental state has left her unfit to face trial following an assessment by prison doctors, it has been claimed.The Old Bailey bomber who is being held at Hydebank, south Belfast after her release licence was revoked almost a year ago also needs outside care, Northern Ireland Justice Minister David Ford has been told.Jennifer McCann, a Sinn Fein member of the justice committee at Stormontwho met the minister in Belfast, has demanded she be freed.She said: “The doctors have also stated that she is not fit to participate in any legal proceedings. The fact that she has twice been released on bail by senior judges, who have seen evidence not available to her solicitors, raises the question, how is she a threat to anyone?”This is an abuse of natural justice. On humanitarian terms alone she should be moved to an outside hospital, never mind the fact that her continued imprisonment damages public confidence in the justice system.”

Price, from Stockman’s Ave, Belfast, who served time for her part in the IRA bombing of the Old Bailey in London in 1973, was re-arrested by police last May following an Easter Commemoration rally by dissident republicans at Derry’s city cemetery where she held paper to enable a masked man to read a speech.

She was later accused of encouraging support for an illegal organisation and granted bail. But Secretary of State Owen Patterson moved immediately to revoke her release licence.

Price has since been charged in connection with the murders of two soldiers in March 2009 – a charge which she also denies.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Prison Service said Price’s health was the responsibility of the Southern Eastern Trust. He added: “Her medical needs are being met in full by the SET who have responsibility for the healthcare of all prisoners.”

WITH MANY THANKS TO : BELFAST TELEGRAPH.

 

Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/old-bailey-bomber-unfit-for-trial-16140985.html#ixzz1rG3YodVj

David Ford ‘actively’ pursuing alternatives to prison strip-searching

Justice Minister David Ford
David Ford again defended his decision not to publish a report into strip-searching
 
The justice minister has said he is actively pursuing other alternatives to full body searching in Northern Ireland prisons.
David Ford said his department was “actively following up on what the alternatives are”.

He again defended his decision not to publish the findings of a Prison Service study into other options to strip-searching at Maghaberry Prison.

He said the report contained sensitive material relating to security issues.

“If we were to publish it, it would have to be so heavily redacted that it really would be absolutely meaningless,” he added.

Mr Ford’s decision has been criticised by Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney and the SDLP‘s John Dallat.

Mr McCartney has urged the justice minister to find alternatives to the “humiliating and degrading” searches.

Mr Ford admitted the process was “not particularly pleasant for either the officers carrying it out or for the prisoners”.

But he said the searches were necessary until a suitable alternative was found.

Mr Ford said the use of an x-ray system was one of the options being considered.

Prison reform campaigners have argued that full body searches are fuelling support for dissident republicans.

Last year, a group calling itself “the family and friends support group for republican prisoners Maghaberry” protested about strip-searching at the jail.

The minister denied claims by those protesting against the searches that the external arrangements had been relaxed.

“An agreement was made and it related to the issues of searching within the prison,” he said.

“It did not cover the issue, which applies to every prison in the UK, that there must be full body searching on entry to and exit from prison.”

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WITH MANY THANKS TO : BBC NEWS NI.

Marian Price being held is ‘internment’: Priest

A Catholic priest has described the continuing detention of the Old Bailey bomber Marian Price as a form of internment.

    
She has been in custody in Maghaberry Prisonsince May last year.Secretary of State Owen Paterson revoked her licence after she appeared at a dissident republicanrally.A meeting of supporters campaigning for her release was held in Londonderry last night.Former prison chaplain Monsignor Raymond Murray said Mr Paterson’s decision had echoes of the past for nationalists.

“This is a form of internment,” said Monsignor Murray, who was prison chaplain in Armagh for almost 20 years.

“I am just shocked that the secretary of state wouldn’t be aware of how seriously nationalist people look on internment.

“We thought it had all ended and here it is coming under a form of revocation, revoking a license.

“He would have to explain to us and explain the process of law as regards Marian Price.

“In any way has she broken the law? That would have to be provided but it is not provided by shoving her into prison on a pretence in an unjust way.”

SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey critical of Marian Price detention

The continued detainment of alleged dissident republican Marian Price has “unintentionally provided a recruiting tool” for dissident republicans, an SDLP MLA told the assembly on Monday.

    
 Pat Ramsey tabled a motion calling on Justice Minister David Fordto liaise with the secretary of state to review the conditions of her detention.Price has been in custody in Maghaberry prison since May 2011, when Owen Paterson revoked the release from prison on licence of the Old Bailey bomber.”This action provided the dissidents the opportunity again to rouse the long-held suspicion of the British justice system imposing its role on the people across Northern Ireland,” Mr Ramsey said.Ms Price, also known as Marian McGlinchey, had been charged with encouraging support for an illegal organisation, the IRA, following a dissident republican rally in Londonderry on Easter Sunday.

The judge granted her bail on that charge, although her licence was later revoked.

InternmentSpeaking at the time, Mr Paterson said he made the decision because the threat posed by Price had “significantly increased”.

Before members discussed the motion, Speaker William Hay warned that nothing could be said which would jeopardise the current prosecutions with the courts.

Sinn Fein’s Jennifer McCann said her party had attempted to get an amendment to the motion to acknowledge republican prisoner Martin Corry.

She said she saw Price’s case as “tantamount to internment without trial”.

The DUP’s Paul Givan, who is also chair of the justice committee, said the motion was “irresponsibly tabled by the SDLP”.

“Mr Ramsey not once commented on Marian Price’s history and why her licence has been revoked,” he said.

He added that the secretary of state had a “duty to protect the wider interests of society”.

Price was jailed for the IRA bombing of the Old Bailey in London in 1973. She was released on compassionate grounds in 1980.

Responding to the debate, Justice Minister David Ford said the revocation of the licence and the case was led by Mr Paterson and the responsibility now lay with the parole commissioners.

He said under devolution, it fell to the secretary of state to recall those released on a life licence if the rationale was determined to be of a “national security nature”.

Mr Ford said he therefore had “no role” and it would be “a serious danger if this house would instruct me to do something which is outside my responsibilities”.

“My opinion on this matter would carry no more weight than any other member of the assembly,” he added.

He denied claims that Price’s medical needs had not been addressed during her time in custody, claiming that she had been provided with the care she required.

Mr Ford also explained that Price had been placed in Maghaberry – an all-male prison – as she was seen to be high risk and Hydebank Wood Women’s Prison was deemed unsuitable.

The motion was rejected.

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Duffy says DNA was planted in getaway car

A man cleared of murdering two soldiers in Northern Ireland in 2009 has claimed his DNA was planted in the getaway car.

1 of 2 Colin Duffy was cleared of murder charges yesterday

Colin Duffy was cleared of murder charges yesterday
Colin Duffy led a republican protest on the Falls Road this afternoon

Colin Duffy led a republican protest on the Falls Road this afternoon
 

A prominent Republican has said his DNA was planted on a latex glove in a getaway car used in the murder of two British soldiers in Antrim in 2009.

Colin Duffy, 44, was cleared yesterday of murdering Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar outside Massereene army base.

Mr Duffy told a news conference in west Belfast today that the charges against him were “spurious” but refused to condemn dissident republicans.Nine News: Duffy may seek redress from British state

His co-accused Brian Shivers was handed a life sentence after a judge found him guilty of being part of the attack.

Mr Duffy said: “I am firmly of the view that my DNA arose there because it was planted. I was never in that car.

“I state quite categorically here that I had no involvement in what happened at Massereene, no involvement whatsoever, and that has been vindicated in court because there was no credible evidence to suggest otherwise.”

He said that if being a dissident meant opposing Sinn Féin‘s peace strategy then he was happy to classify himself as such.

He added that he had no questions to answer.

“I did not need to answer to the spurious evidence or so-called evidence that they were adducing at the trial,” he said.

“The decision not to give evidence was a decision that we took on the basis of my view legally of how the case was going.”

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‘Very, VERY, lucky’: Soldier finds bomb under his car seat on visit to see girlfriend in Belfast

A soldier was yesterday said to be ‘very, very lucky’ to be alive after finding a terrorist bomb planted in his car on a visit to his girlfriend in Northern Ireland.

Dissident republicans opposed to the peace process placed the murderous device beneath the driver’s seat after the soldier left the Vauxhall Astra unlocked.

But the off-duty serviceman, who is not based in Northern Ireland, cheated death after spotting the booby-trap while cleaning the vehicle before picking up a child from school.

 
At the scene: A bomb disposal crew prepares to deal with the bomb planted in a British soldier's car in BelfastAt the scene: A bomb disposal crew prepares
 

He noticed a trip wire which connected the seatbelt to the device on Thursday.

Police said there could have been massive bloodshed if the bomb on a housing estate in Belfast had exploded.

Despite the narrow escape the soldier, from Scotland, is expected to be hauled over the coals by the Army for breaching strict personal security orders.

His parked car was left open outside his long-term girlfriend’s home in nationalist north Belfast and he is understood to have ignored safety guidance by telling several people he was a member of the Armed Forces.

The vehicle was also described as a ‘party car’ by local politicians who said it had been used to transport revellers to celebrations across the Ligoniel district on Wednesday night.

This alerted terrorists belonging to Oglaigh na hEireann, a splinter group of the Continuity IRA, to his whereabouts and movements.

Heavily populate area: Children watch from their home as security forces deal with the bomb, which police said would have killed many if it had detonated 

The faction, blamed in the past for leaving a string of pipe bombs outside the homes of Police Service of Northern Ireland officers, claimed responsibility for the foiled attack.

An Army source said: ‘We have very strict guidelines and protocols and give regular advice to personnel both serving in and visiting Northern Ireland to take personal security very seriously.’

He said the soldier would be ‘invited in for a conversation without coffee’ – meaning a severe dressing down from a senior officer.

Around 30 families had to be evacuated from their homes on the housing estate when the car bomb was discovered in Blackdam Court. Army bomb disposal experts dealt with the device by a controlled explosion.

There had been a lull in activity by dissident republicans in Northern Ireland but Chief Inspector Andy Freeburn said the attack confirmed the threat is still severe.

Mr Freeburn said: ‘He was very, very lucky. A small but very determined and capable group of people was involved in this, and we could have been dealing with a serious tragedy. There is no doubt his vigilance saved his life.

‘Many children aren’t back to school yet after the holidays and this could have been an absolutely horrendous start to the  New Year.’

With many thanks to :

The faction, blamed in the past for leaving a string of pipe bombs outside the homes of Police Service of Northern Ireland officers, claimed responsibility for the foiled attack.

An Army source said: ‘We have very strict guidelines and protocols and give regular advice to personnel both serving in and visiting Northern Ireland to take personal security very seriously.’

He said the soldier would be ‘invited in for a conversation without coffee’ – meaning a severe dressing down from a senior officer.

Around 30 families had to be evacuated from their homes on the housing estate when the car bomb was discovered in Blackdam Court. Army bomb disposal experts dealt with the device by a controlled explosion.

English: Propaganda picture released to media ...

There had been a lull in activity by dissident republicans in Northern Ireland but Chief Inspector Andy Freeburn said the attack confirmed the threat is still severe.

Mr Freeburn said: ‘He was very, very lucky. A small but very determined and capable group of people was involved in this, and we could have been dealing with a serious tragedy. There is no doubt his vigilance saved his life.

‘Many children aren’t back to school yet after the holidays and this could have been an absolutely horrendous start to the  New Year.’

With many thanks to : By Ian Drury ( MAIL ONLINE )

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2083219/Soldier-finds-bomb-car-seat-visit-girlfriend-Belfast.html#ixzz1jGVdisJn

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