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IRA man Brennan caught with explosives on bus to Londonderry is jailed

By Diarmaid Mac Dermott

A Dublin man caught trying to transport 1.6 kilos of high grade explosives and three detonators on a Bus Eireann bus to Londonderry has been jailed for seven years by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin.

The court heard the bus station had to be evacuated after Special Branch detectives found Patrick Brennan on board.

Brennan (53) was arrested last June by officers from the Special Detective Unit (SDU) at Busaras, in Store Street, central Dublin, following a tip-off.

Brennan, of Lindisfarne Avenue, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, pleaded guilty to possessing four 400-gramme blocks of TNT and three electric explosive detonators on June 16, 2016.

Detective Sergeant Padraig Boyce, SDU, told the court Brennan had been under surveillance "as part of an on-going investigation" into the activities of IRA members in the Dublin area.

Det Sgt Boyce said that on the day of the arrest, the married father-of-six was observed leaving his house at around 4.50am and getting into a taxi. The taxi took the accused to the bus station in Dublin's city centre, where he boarded the Bus Eireann 5.55am service to Derry.

At all times, Brennan had a blue canvas bag in his possession and this bag was on the seat next to him when he was arrested on the bus by three SDU officers.

Det Sgt Boyce told prosecution counsel Ronan Kennedy gardai had made a "significant discovery" after Brennan was detained.

He said: "In the base of the bag there was four blocks of Trinitrotoluene, commonly known as TNT and three electronic detonators in good condition strapped to the TNT."

Brennan, who had been jailed for four years in 2005 for IRA membership, was the sole passenger on the bus at the time of his arrest, Det Sgt Boyce added.

He said he believed the quantity of explosives could have been used in the construction of "six to eight" separate car bombs.

Sentencing him to seven years imprisonment backdated to last June, Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, said that while Brennan's role was confined to transportation, acting as a willing courier was the same as taking part in terrorist activities.

The judge said the court was prepared to suspend the final two years of the sentence if Brennan gave an undertaking not to associate with members of unlawful organisations.

However, Mr Diarmaid Mac Guinness SC said that his client was not in a position to give such an undertaking.

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