13/11/2020

Seven Men Jailed For Total Of 50 Terrorist Offences

Seven men have been sentenced for a combined total of 50 terrorist offences.

The men, who range in age from 36 to 79 years, pleaded guilty in January to offences including membership of a proscribed organisation, preparation of terrorist acts, conspiracy to possess explosives and firearms, collecting information and providing terrorist training. An eighth man who pleaded guilty to nine offences has since died.The convictions relate to a counter terrorism operation which centred on a house in Ardcarn Park, Newry in 2014.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland's Head of Serious Crime, Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray, said: "Today has been another significant milestone in our relentless efforts to protect communities and save lives by disrupting and frustrating the efforts of those involved in terrorist activities.
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"Working alongside our partners in MI5 we carried out a detailed and painstaking operation over a prolonged period of time to uncover the multitude of conspiracies that this group were planning. The tactics used included the use of covert audio devices which allowed us to gather comprehensive and compelling evidence which successfully defeated the fear inspired walls of silence which groups such as these try to use to frustrate the detection of their activities. Such tactics, widely used by law enforcement agencies throughout the world, provide a powerful means of exposing the true nature of these gangs and their members.

"Within the plans, which were put forward as evidence, included the intention to carry out robberies on businessmen in the community using menaces which ranged through intimidation, destruction of property to kidnap and outright violence. They were determined to build a network of likeminded individuals on both sides of the border to push forward plans to attack police, intimidate anyone who stood against them and even damage Northern Ireland's fragile economy. The impact of such conspiracies would have been wide ranging, economically damaging and potentially violently life changing to those on the receiving end of them.

"Thankfully their plans were disrupted and today, as these seven men face prison sentences for a spectrum of significant terrorist offences, Northern Ireland's communities are safer. Any plots to bring violence onto the streets brings significant danger and risks to communities, as terrorists do not care who gets killed while they try to achieve their end objectives.

"We will continue to work day and daily to prevent harm being caused within our communities.

"I commend all the officers and our partners involved in this extremely, complex and protracted investigation for their commitment and tenacity in securing the conviction and sentencing of these men. It is one of the most significant terrorism cases in recent times given the seriousness of the offences and the number of people involved."

The case is still ongoing.


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