Duo sentenced over dissident speech at Easter Rising event
Two men have been handed suspended sentences for a terrorist-related offence linked to an Easter Rising commemoration in a cemetery that was addressed by a masked man.
Ciaran Anthony Boyle (30) and 53-year old Anthony Michael Lancaster both admitted assisting in arranging or managing a meeting which they knew was to be addressed by a person who belonged or professed to belong to a proscribed organisation, namely the IRA.
The charge arose from an event in Derry City Cemetery on April 9, 2012, staged by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement.
It was addressed by a masked man who gave a speech on behalf of ONH/Real IRA, in which he stated that the IRA would continue to attack "Crown force personnel" as well as "British interests and infrastructures".
Lancaster, from Circular Road in the Creggan area of Derry, was described at Belfast Crown Court as being the master of ceremonies at the Easter Monday event. He was present on the podium and introduced the speakers.
Boyle, from The Meadows, raised and lowered the Irish flag, as well as collecting various other flags from members of the colour party present on the day in question.
Passing sentence yesterday, Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland handed both men a 12-month sentence, which he suspended for three years.
Lancaster and Boyle initially denied the charges, and a non-jury Diplock trial commenced last month. However, the pair then changed their pleas to guilty, and were sentenced yesterday.
Eilis McDermott QC, representing Boyle, revealed the father-of-one is currently undertaking a law degree at Ulster University.
He said Boyle's "actual involvement" at the event was "of a low level".
Lancaster's barrister, Martin O'Rourke QC, said he was unaware a masked man was going to give a speech on the podium.
Mr O'Rourke also questioned why arrests were made after the event, and said there was a "perception" that the prosecution agencies were selective in their findings and deliberately targeted republicans who are "unsupported" by mainstream republicans.