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Terror training camp accused bailed for son's communion

An architect charged in connection with an alleged terrorist training camp can leave prison to be at his son's first communion, a High Court judge ruled yesterday.

Aidan Coney was granted bail on condition that his local GAA club chairman chaperones him throughout the release period.

Mr Justice Horner also ordered £10,000 in sureties to be lodged and banned the suspect from using a phone. Coney (34), of Malabhui Road, Carrickmore, Co Tyrone, faces charges of possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life or property, and attending a place used for terrorist training.

He is one of four suspects allegedly connected to the firing of 200 rounds at Formil Wood near Omagh in March last year. At previous court hearings it was claimed balloons were pinned to trees as targets, with only 15 shell cases recovered due to an attempt to cleanse the area of evidence.

Part of the prosecution case centres on a five-month surveillance operation against two co-accused.

Coney was seeking compassionate bail to attend the ceremony in Carrickmore today. The court heard he abided by all conditions during a previous release for a christening service where Sinn Fein Assemblyman Barry McElduff accompanied him.

With the MLA unavailable this time, the GAA club chairman was prepared to fill the role.

A prosecution barrister opposed the application, citing the seriousness of the charges. But defence counsel Sean Devine rejected any suggestion that Coney would use his son's first communion to commit any offences.

The judge ruled that conditions could be imposed to manage the risk, based on Coney's compliance during the previous compassionate release. He ordered him to leave straight after the service and be back in Maghaberry Prison by 2.15pm.

Belfast Telegraph