“The court heard that the device had contained 200g of Semtex plastic explosive…”

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Depressingly familiar scenes both outside and inside Bishop Street courthouse in Londonderry on Monday as three men, including a brother-in-law of SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey, appeared on terrorism charges after their arrest on Thursday last week.

From the UTV report

Appearing in the dock, all three men refused to recognise the court.

And from the Irish Times report

Dozens of relatives and friends of the co-defendants crowded into the Bishop Street courthouse for the hearing.

More than a dozen police officers were also inside the courtroom.

The police witness told District Judge Alan White that she believed she could connect the co-defendants to the charges. She said they were arrested after a car they were travelling in was stopped by police at Westway in the Creggan Estate shortly after 8.30pm on Thursday last.

She said the explosive was found in a holdall in the footwell of the rear passenger seat. The device was subsequently examined by a British army technical officer.

“The device, which is made of metal, is capable of causing extensive damage and loss of life”, she said.

The police witness said she believed “the activity” was carried out “by the new IRA” and that none of the defendants had given accounts of their movements nor had they denied the charges.

The officer said her opposition to the defendants being released on bail “is based on police intelligence information”.

When solicitors for the defendants submitted that the information should disclosed to the defence, the judge adjourned their bail applications until Thursday for a video link hearing.

After the co-defendants were remanded in continuing custody until Thursday, their relatives and supporters clapped and cheered when they were taken into custody.

Weapons and an explosive device have also been reportedly seized during police searches in Lurgan, County Armagh.

Update  All three men have been refused bail and were remanded in custody until 10 January.  From the BBC report

[A detective constable] said, during their interviews, the defendants made no reply, however Harkin – in a prepared written statement – said he was in the car with the intention of using the spirits to burn the car and the device at Groarty Road.

Applying for bail for the defendants Ceulmans and Hegarty, solicitor Paddy MacDermott, said it would take at least six months before forensic tests had been completed.

He said both men and their families were deeply rooted in the local community and it would be in their interests to turn up for their trial.

Barrister Andrew Moriarty, applying for bail for the defendant Harkin, said the father-of-four was a member of the government-funded social justice committee and was currently working on a cross-community project with teenagers from east Belfast.

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  • derrydave

    Jesus, it’s very hard to know what possesses people to go up to the courthouse in Derry and cheer and shout as if they’re celebrating something. I know the family of one of these guys and it is beyond devestating for them what has happened – you’re talking about probably 10-20 years without a father / husband being around, and the awful prospect of life revolving around prison visits for a long long time to come. So sad for the families of these idiots – they’ll all have a long time to mull over how they got their priorities in life so wrong.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “One of the defendants, Damien Harkin, is a brother-in-law of SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey.” … BBC link

    This is a disgraceful and irresponsible piece of reporting by the BBC. It conveys the potential impression of guilt by association and that can be exceedingly dangerous in our contentious political landscape.

  • derrydave

    What ??? People are going to think that Pat is a secret Dissident ? Or people are going to suspect that Damien is a secret Stooper ?

    Yeah, it conveys the impression of guilt by association if ye were a martian who just landed on the planet earth and didn’t have a scooby what the f**k ye were reading about !

    God give me strength.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “God give me strength.”

    derrydave, I’ve read some of your other stuff so I’m not sure if He or She or It is up to the challenge :)

  • derrydave

    Nevin, I’m sure you are aware of course that Pat’s home in the Bogside was repeatedly attacked by dissidents forcing him to move out ?
    Your post above surely isn’t coming from a position of complete ignorance, therefore I can only assume that you are worried for Damiens reputation as being publicly linked to the SDLP ?
    ‘Quick type, slow think’ can be exceedingly dangerous ! Can’t claim to have ever noticed any of your other ‘stuff’, but am guessing you live a long way from Derry !

  • son of sam

    “All three men refused to recognise the court”.If this is the case how come they were represented by solicitors?Is this not an implicit recognition of the Court?Having your cake and eating it!

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    derrydave, I didn’t know that Pat had been forced out; I was thinking of the threat to Pat coming from a different quarter but perhaps you didn’t have the imagination to contemplate that. Don’t forget that SF and SDLP have been running after dissident folks in Dungannon and elsewhere and I’d have thought that could be a risky as well as an insulting thing to do in the current climate.

    I’m quite a long way from Derry but I met a lot of Derry ones at Corrymeela. I also sussed out the reason for Douglas Hurd’s trip to Derry just over 19 years ago but you’ll find no mention of the visit in the CAIN archive.

  • iluvni

    Its time that inventory of decommissioned IRA weaponry was published. Maybe sdlp could follow up on that for me.

  • derrydave

    When in a hole Nevin, when in a hole…

    It was pretty obvious the nonsense you were implying – You thought there could be a potential threat to Pat Ramsey (presumably from loyalists) through the BBC stating he is related to an IRA suspect. Despite the world and his wife knowing that Pat Ramsey was so critical of dissidents that they attacked his home on a number of occassions and actually forced him to move out of the Bogside. Am I missing something here ?….oh, yeah – your complete ignorance of the topic on which you commented….that’d be it.

    When in a hole…..

    ps well done on the Douglas Hurd thing – I’m extremely impressed :-)

  • derrydave

    ps I do now remember your previous ‘stuff’ – all I recall however is the numerous references to Corrymeela…’when i was in Corrymeela’,……’back in the day in Corrymeela’……’when we fixed the world in Corrymeela’……’as I was once saying in Corrymeela’…. :-) Was very, very impressed then also.

  • Submariner

    Well done to the PSNI in catching these people red handed. They will now hopefully be off the streets for a long time.

    “iluvni (profile) 12 December 2012 at 11:53 am
    Its time that inventory of decommissioned IRA weaponry was published. Maybe sdlp could follow up on that for me.”

    What has the SDLP got to do with this? Do you really think that the dissidents are incapable of acquiring more Semtex? I suggest you type Semtex for sale into Google.

  • iluvni

    I’m not sure if they have been capable of acquiring more Semtex. I’m rather more interested to know if the stuff they are using now is part of that which was supposedly decommissioned.
    Arent you?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “Am I missing something here ?”

    Probably everything, derrydave :) As the man said, calm down dear. You can’t expect to hit a target with all that wild thrashing about.

    Why all the excitement anyway? The new IRA is merely continuing on from where its predecessor left off. The Derry Experiment was a belated worthwhile move but many folks and businesses had already perished in the conflagration.

    Mockery of Corrymeela noted.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Since 2002 Semtex has had distinctive markers added during manufacture to make identification and detection easier. The forensic scientists examining the Derry find will be in a position to report on its lineage.

    Given that Provo ‘expertise’ is underpinning the so-called dissidents it would not be much of a surprise to find them using ‘decommissioned’ IRA weapons.

    However to meet current political imperatives I expect the PSNI to keep stum.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    Semtex does have a shelf life ye know

  • Pete Baker

    Update All three men have been refused bail and were remanded in custody until 10 January. From the BBC report

    [A detective constable] said, during their interviews, the defendants made no reply, however Harkin – in a prepared written statement – said he was in the car with the intention of using the spirits to burn the car and the device at Groarty Road.

    Applying for bail for the defendants Ceulmans and Hegarty, solicitor Paddy MacDermott, said it would take at least six months before forensic tests had been completed.

    He said both men and their families were deeply rooted in the local community and it would be in their interests to turn up for their trial.

    Barrister Andrew Moriarty, applying for bail for the defendant Harkin, said the father-of-four was a member of the government-funded social justice committee and was currently working on a cross-community project with teenagers from east Belfast.