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RIRA bomb engineer David Rockett jailed for making mortar tubes

A man whom gardai believed was manufacturing mortar tubes for a faction of the Real IRA has been jailed by the Special Criminal Court.

Officers arrested 31-year-old David Rockett after a lengthy investigation into the activities of the "engineering" section of the renegade terror group.

Rockett was detained on suspicions of manufacturing a mortar launch tube for the Real IRA.

The group remained loyal to the founder of the dissident organisation, Michael McKevitt. Anti-terror officers were satisfied the mortars were to be used against security targets in the North.

In the Special Criminal Court yesterday Rockett, of Grawn Lower, Kilmacthomas, Co Waterford, pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of three mortar launch tubes on dates unknown between January 1, 2011, and September 22, 2011, inclusive.

The charges included possession of two tubes at his home and one at Military Road, Killadangan, Co Waterford.

He was sentenced to five years' imprisonment but the court decided to suspend the final three and a half years of his sentence.

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Rockett was arrested in a series of swoops carried out by local gardai and the Special Branch that involved 15 searches in counties Wexford, Waterford, Longford and Clare in September 2011.

Rockett's trial heard that the investigation was part of an operation co-ordinated by the gardai in Waterford against a republican engineering network.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Butler said the minimum sentence would be five years in prison and but suspended the last three and a half years.

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