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Dissident Dee Fennell faces charges over procession in Belfast

Dee Fennell

DISSIDENT republican mouthpiece Dee Fennell has been accused of organising and taking part in an illegal procession.

The spokesperson for the New IRA's political wing, Saoradh, faces two charges under the Public Procession (Northern Ireland) Act. Both charges arise out of a procession in Belfast on April 22 last year.

Fennell (38), of Duneden Park in the Ardoyne area of Belfast, pleaded not guilty to both counts at Belfast Magistrates' Court last week.

The case was adjourned until October 14.

On the same date of the charges, a little over three weeks after the New IRA murdered journalist Lyra McKee in Londonderry, Saoradh held its Easter commemoration in Belfast with around 200 in attendance.

In two of the photographs of the event at Milltown cemetery in west Belfast, Fennell can be seen standing beside Saoardh chairman Brian Kenna as he addressed the gathering. Kenna said in his speech that the New IRA needed to take "responsibility and apologise" for the murder of Ms McKee.

Saoradh Belfast posted the images on its Facebook page on the same day, with the statement: "A republican colour party led a march to the Harbinson plot, accompanied by the Wolfe Tone RFB Craigneuk.

"Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Republican Movement, Saoradh and the IRPWA, as well as the attending RFB. The main oration was delivered by our national chairperson, Brian Kenna from Dublin."

The IRPWA is the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association which supports prisoners being held on remand or serving sentences relating to dissident republican activity and terror offences.

Fennell's court case came the day after a preliminary hearing into the killing of taxi driver Michael McGibbon who was murdered by the New IRA in April 2016. The 33-year-old died in the arms of his wife, NHS district nurse Joanne after a shotgun blast to the leg in a pre-arranged punishment shooting in Ardoyne.

Fennell was arrested and questioned over the killing but later released unconditionally.

Mr McGibbon, a father-of-four, was shot over a baseless rumour that he made an inappropriate comment to the daughter of a leading republican in his taxi a year before.

The further preliminary is scheduled to take place on September 17.

Sunday Life