Bail granted to dissident accused

November 2, 2015

A Warrenpoint man, who was allegedly recorded by undercover Garda officers in a covert operation against suspected dissident republicans, was released on £25,000 bail by the High Court on Thursday.

Prosecutors claim Paul Crawford (40) was at a meeting in the Carrickdale Hotel near Dundalk, where his co-accused Carl Reilly discussed attempted murders and bombings.

Crawford, of Carrickree Mews is charged with membership of Oglaigh na hEireann between January 2014 and October 17th this year.

Reilly (39) from Belfast, is accused of membership of the same group and of directing terrorism.

Prosecution in the case claimed CCTV footage showed the two men entering the hotel in February this year.  In secret recordings made by Gardaí, Reilly is allegedly heard plotting dissident republican attacks.  Even though Reilly is alleged to have made the comments, the prosecution claimed Crawford was part of the conversation.

However the defence has questioned the quality of the CCTV images, while transcripts of the audio recordings have yet to be calibrated.

Following his arrest last month, Crawford denied that he has ever belonged to any illegal organisation and said he was a member of the Republican Network for Unity (RNU).

Granting bail, Mr Justice Mark Horner noted that it could be months before expert voice analysis is completed and stressed his decision was based on Crawford facing a membership charge which is “notoriously difficult to prove”.