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Republican wanted over arms plot is granted bail

By Sean O'Driscoll

A leading republican wanted in Lithuania for an alleged plot to send explosives and weapons to Ireland has been freed on bail in the Republic despite objections from prosecutors.

Liam Campbell, who was held liable in a landmark civil action for the Real IRA's 1998 Omagh bomb that killed 29 people, was granted bail after two Dundalk businesspeople put up €60,000 (£50,300) in assurances.

The weapons he allegedly tried to import include sniper rifles, rocket launchers, RPG-7 rockets, hand grenades and Semtex explosives for the Real IRA.

Campbell (54), of Upper Faughart in north Louth, was allegedly a senior Real IRA member when the offences were committed in late 2006 and early 2007 when he is alleged to have met with a British intelligence officer posing as an arms dealer.

Yesterday in Dublin's High Court, Veronica Mackin, who co-owns Bubbles Wholesales in Dundalk with her husband Ken Mackin, told Brian Gageby, Mr Campbell's barrister, that the couple were willing to put up €40,000 to have Mr Campbell released. The other €20,000 was put up by Willie Morgan, a grain wholesaler in north Louth.

Ronan Kennedy, for the State, objected to bail, based on the seriousness of the alleged offences and the possibility that Campbell would flee the country.

He previously told the court that the PSNI had arrested Campbell in 2009 and detained him at the request of the Lithuanian authorities. But Belfast High Court released Mr Campbell back to his home in Louth because Lithuanian prison conditions were found to violate the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits degrading or inhuman detention conditions.

Campbell was arrested by gardai at his home on December 1 on foot of a European arrest warrant issued by the Lithuanian authorities.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly granted Campbell bail on condition that the bail money is deposited to the prison authorities, that Campbell sign on every day at a garda station and that he answer garda mobile phone calls, including at night time.

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