A 25-year-old man charged with two terrorism-related offences has been refused bail in Waterford.
The charges arise from an 18-month investigation involving gardaí, the FBI and the London Metropolitan Police into Irish links with international extremism.
Hassan Bal, an Irish citizen and trainee electrician, applied for bail on Tuesday at Waterford District Court, after being charged last week on two offences contrary to the Criminal Justice Terrorist Offences Act 2005.
Mr Bal was charged that on October 2nd, 2015, he provided funds for the benefit of an international terrorist group and that on October 23rd, 2015, he attempted to collect funds for the benefit of an international terrorist group.
Det Sgt Donal Donohoe said that gardaí were opposing bail on a number of grounds, including the belief he would commit further offences if granted bail and that he would pose a flight risk and not stand trial if granted bail.
Supporting his objections, Det Sgt Donohoe said the seriousness of the charges were such that conviction upon indictment carried a sentence of up to 20 years.
He said gardaí believed Mr Bal was a flight risk as the address he had been staying at on O’Connell Street in Waterford with his wife – who is a British citizen – was no longer available to him and they had no permanent address in this country.
Det Sgt Donohoe agreed with defence solicitor Ken Cunningham that Mr Bal had first been arrested in December, 2015, and had been released without charge, remained in Ireland and had not attempted to flee despite knowing a file was being prepared for the DPP.
Mr Bal’s mother, Dr Caroline Ward-Fahy, said that her son had been born in the UK but she had moved to Ireland in 2003. They had lived in Wexford before moving to Waterford 10 years ago and he had lived with her until he got married and moved out with his wife, who is now pregnant.
She said she was happy for him to return home to stay with her at her rented house. While she was shocked to find herself in such circumstances, she said she believed he “was innocent and that will be proven”.
Asked by Ins Tony Lonergan how she could give a guarantee that Mr Bal would not abscond if granted bail, Dr Ward-Fahy said her son was "obedient" to her. She said that was an important part of his faith and if she told him to do something he would do it "as a duty to god".
Judge Kevin Staunton accepted Dr Ward-Fahy was a very believable person and he said he had no doubt her assurance about her son was genuinely given. He also said he accepted that Mr Bal had not fled the country since he was first arrested 18 months ago, but he believed his status had changed after being charged.
He said he accepted Det Sgt Donohoe’s evidence that Mr Bal would commit further offences and would not stand trial if granted bail so he was refusing him bail and he remanded him in custody to appear again at Waterford District Court on May 9th.