Belfast Telegraph

Dissidents republicans on recruitment drive

By George Jackson

A District Judge has said he believes that dissident republican terrorist groups are recruiting “more and more people” with no criminal records into their ranks.

Judge Barney McElholm made his comments at Londonderry Magistrate's Court after a police officer linked a 29-year-old man from the city to a bomb attack on the home of retired GP Dr Keith Munro, who was also a police forensic medical officer, and another on the home of a serving police officer in the village of Claudy last September.

Joseph Hugh Allen, an unemployed joiner from Broadway in the Creggan area, was arrested at his home on Wednesday and charged with possessing a pipe bomb, an improvised explosive device and a tub containing small arms propellants.

The defendant denies committing the offence between September 1 and September 14 last year.

A police officer told the court that the defendant was suspected of being involved in the double bomb attack on Dr Munro's home and on the home of the serving police officer on September 14 of last year.

She said after the incidents, seven people were arrested and 11 properties were searched by the police. The police witness said officers found the explosive items in a tool box hidden in a rug and covered with children’s toys in a garden shed at the Melmore Gardens home of the defendant's sister.

She said the defendant was arrested last October 3 after the discovery and was released without charge before his re-arrest on Wednesday.

The police witness said after his arrest the defendant was taken to the Antrim Serious Crime Suite where he was fingerprinted.

She said his prints matched some found on items inside the tool box. The pipe bomb found was similar to a pipe bomb which exploded close to children and police officers in the Creggan area of Derry earlier this year, she said.

Defence solicitor Dermot Walker said the defendant had no relevant criminal record.

Refusing bail, the District Judge said that “more and more people who are recruited into these organisations do not have any relevant convictions”.

Allen was remanded in custody for a hearing on September 13.

Belfast Telegraph

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