Belfast Telegraph

Dissident training camp brothers get five years in prison

By Chris Kilpatrick

Two brothers arrested after attending a dissident republican terror training camp and firing range have been jailed.

Terence Aidan Coney (36), from Malabhui Road in Carrickmore, and Gavin Joseph Coney (37), from Gorticashel Road in Omagh, previously pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to charges linked to the camp, which was uncovered in Formil Wood outside Omagh in March 2012.

The siblings, two of a gang of four arrested after a lengthy surveillance operation by the security forces, were each sentenced to five years and nine months.

Investigators found balloons and spent cartridges at the site, which prosecutors said was being used as a firing range.

The Coneys, who were arrested at their homes six weeks after being watched by the police, pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm and ammunition, namely a .22 Walther rifle and .22 rounds in suspicious circumstances on March 30, 2012.

They also admitted attending a place used for terrorist training on the same date, namely Formil Wood on the Gorticashel Road.

The court was told Gavin Coney was the owner of the legally-held firearm. He was said to have brought it to the training camp so it could be used for target practice and its capability assessed.

Gavin Coney also admitted an additional charge of possessing a firearm in suspicious circumstances, namely a .22 calibre silencer.

On top of those charges, the brothers additionally admitted possessing articles for use in terrorism, including training shoes, waterproof jackets and trousers, balaclavas and gloves.

They further pleaded guilty to a charge of helping others in the preparation and setting up of the improvised firing range.

Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland described the pair's involvement in the camp as "sad and puzzling".

Half of their sentences will be spent in prison and the remainder on supervised licence.

Sean Kelly (49) from Duneane Crescent, in Toomebridge, also previously pleaded guilty to charges linked to the terror camp, as did 39-year-old Sharon Rafferty from Pomeroy. They will be sentenced today.

Belfast Telegraph


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