Newry CIRA arrests: Bail hearing reveals weapon smuggling plan

December 15, 2014

The bail hearing of a Newry man facing terrorist charges has heard that secret MI5 recordings of top-level Continuity IRA meetings in Newry revealed plans to smuggle a weapon inside a loaf of bread.

Last month police raided a house in the Ardcarne Park area of the city as part of a major investigation into the Continuity IRA.  Twelve men were arrested during the covert operation.  five were subsequently released pending reports and the remaining seven were charged with terrorist offences.

One of the seven men charged, 59 year old Seamus Morgan of Barcroft Park in Newry, appeared at a bail hearing on Wednesday.  Morgan is accused of membership of a proscribed organisation.

During the hearing at the High Court in Belfast, judge Mr Justice Burgess heard that the investigation centres on nine meetings in the Ardcarne Park house held by alleged key members of the CIRA.

The prosecution counsel told the court that the house had been bugged by MI5 for three months prior to the arrests and the secret tapes revealed topics being discussed which included weapons training, funding, plans to commit acts of terrorism, the procurement of firearms and recruitment strategies.

It was alleged at a previous hearing that the tapes had recorded a plot to kill judges and police officers.

According to the prosecution, Seamus Morgan was at two or three of the meetings in October and November and they claim that during the second meeting, the discussions allegedly centred around anti-social behaviour, having household items for bomb making which could be used as evidence against them, and transporting a small weapon in a loaf of bread.

The prosecution lawyer said preliminary results from voice attribution analysis have indicated that Morgan spoke during the secret recordings.

Morgan’s defence team argued that Morgan only faces one allegation of membership of an outlawed organisation, unlike the other six charged, and that there was no evidence he was in the room where the conversations took place.  The defence lawyer told the judge Morgan had gone to the house to visit a long-term friend.

Refusing bail, Mr Justice Burgess cited the risk of further offences.