A Dublin man whose DNA was found on a number plate linked to a car bomb attack at Newry courthouse has been jailed for four years for membership of a dissident terrorist organisation.
The Special Criminal Court heard that DNA evidence connected Darren Weldon to the number plate whcih was found in the debris of a car bomb which exploded outside the courthouse on February 22nd, 2010.
Weldon (45), of Drinadaly in Trim, Co Meath, was convicted last month of being a member of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann, otherwise the IRA on October 14th, 2014.
During the trial, the court heard evidence that on February 22nd, 2010, a car bomb exploded outside Newry courthouse. In the aftermath, within the debris, PSNI officers found the car’s registration plate.
Weldon was arrested four years later. While in custody gardaí took DNA swabs, which were compared to a DNA profile found on the registration plate and the samples matched.
In September 2012, Weldon, originally from Kilbarrack in Dublin, was arrested before for suspected IRA membership after attending the funeral of Alan Ryan.
Ryan was one of six men jailed for taking part in a “Real IRA” training camp in Co Meath in October 1999. He was shot dead in 2012.
The court heard evidence of a WhatsApp picture message, dedicated to Ryan, being found on Weldon’s phone.
It said: “Heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done regardless of the consequences.”
Det Chief Supt Peter Kirwan, head of security and intelligence at Garda headquarters, told the trial he believed, on the basis of confidential information, that Weldon was a member of the IRA.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt sentenced him to five years imprisonment but suspended the final year.