Court hears of Real IRA bomb plot

 

Dissident Republicans plotted to lure police into a bomb trap during an Orange Order parade in Northern Ireland, a court heard today.

The son of the former paramilitary leader Dominic McGlinchey faces explosives charges relating to the device discovered in July this year in Bellaghy, County Derry.

Declan McGlinchey (30) from Gulladuff Road in Ballaghy, denies two charges of possessing and making explosives.

Mr McGlinchey was granted bail during today's hearing in Belfast High Court today and is due to appear again before court at a later date.

During today's hearing, Jo Aiken QC for the prosecution, said: "Police believe that the intention was to lure police, because on July 1st an Orange parade connected to the commemoration of the Battle of the Somme was taking place in the William Street area of Bellaghy and the intention was that when the bomb warning was given, then the police would do a sweep of the area and the device would then explode."

Detectives are relying on a controversial form of DNA profiling known as Low Copy Number (LCN) DNA to connect the defendant.

They said Mr McGlinchey's DNA had been found on tape used in the device. The bomb was discovered the day following the parade beside the route of the parade in a disused yard and experts said it could have exploded, causing carnage in the local community.

The Real IRA gave a bomb warning on July 1st shortly before the procession, but did not specify the town where the explosive had been placed.

Mr McGlinchey's barrister, Joe Brolly, said the case was "perilously weak" and ought not to come before a jury. He added that the DNA evidence could have been transferred accidentally.

"There may have been contact, alternatively it was actually possible that there was contact with other objects, as a matter of law this must be the end of the argument."

"My respectful submission is that this is a case which on its face is doomed."

Prosecutors said they had found a DNA profile which could almost certainly be connected to the accused.

Mr Brolly said senior Sinn Fein figures were in the court, along with a large group of family, to support his client.