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Dublin man accused of police bomb bid 'used IRA connections to flee to Scotland,' court told

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Police at the scene of the bomb bid in Eglinton in 2015

Police at the scene of the bomb bid in Eglinton in 2015

Police at the scene of the bomb bid in Eglinton in 2015

A Dublin man wanted over a suspected bid to kill a PSNI officer with an under-car bomb allegedly used his IRA connections to flee to Scotland, a court has been told.

Sean Paul Farrell, 35, appeared before magistrates in Belfast after he was arrested and brought back to Northern Ireland.

He is charged with attempting to murder the off-duty policeman in Eglinton, Co Londonderry on June 18, 2015.

Farrell, with a previous address at Kilfenora Road, Crumlin, faces a further count of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life.

A detective said the improvised explosive device (IED) planted under the officer's car could have had "devastating" consequences.

In February this year the High Court in Dublin ordered Farrell's extradition to Northern Ireland.

But according to police he went missing the following month.

He was detained under a warrant in the Glasgow area on Thursday.

Opposing bail at Belfast Magistrates' Court, an investigating detective claimed Farrell will go on the run again if released.

"We believe he's a member of the IRA and that he has used his connections within the IRA to leave the Republic of Ireland and get to Scotland," he said.

"If he gets out, with all his connections, he will do the same."

District Judge Fiona Bagnall was told the dissident paramilitary organisation remain active and pose a severe threat, targeting police officers, prison staff and members of the judiciary.

Referring to the growing level of sophistication in some devices, the detective added: "There have been 200-plus incidents where ATO (Army Technical Officers) have been called to the IRA's work over a 12-month period."

During cross-examination by defence solicitor Peter Corrigan, of Phoenix Law, he confirmed there is no forensic evidence linking Farrell to the under-car bomb.

Instead, the detective contended, the case against the accused involves circumstantial and CCTV evidence.

Farrell was allegedly in a stolen car involved in the murder bid a number of hours later, when it was spotted across the border in Ballybofey, Co Donegal.

"There's a significant gap in the time nexus," Mr Corrigan contended.

Disputing police assertions that his client absconded, the lawyer insisted Farrell had attended court throughout the extradition proceedings.

But despite offering a £10,000 surety, bail was refused due to the risk of flight.

Judge Bagnall remanded Farrell in custody to appear again by video-link on June 19.

Belfast Telegraph