Four west Belfast men – an alleged IRA commander and three alleged terrorists – were remanded into custody on Saturday accused of terrorist activity.
As the four were led from the dock at Lisburn Magistrates’ Court, there was clapping and cheers from the public gallery and shouts of “tiocaigh ar la” as the four men were led away in handcuffs.
There was a heavy police presence both outside and inside the small court as the four men appeared, remaining handcuffed and flanked by police at all times.
Alleged terrorist leader Kevin O’Neill, 58, from Coolnasilla Park South, faces charges of IRA membership and directing the activities of the proscribed organisation on dates between December 1 2013 and June 25 this year.
The other three, 37-year-old Robert Warnock O’Neill, from Bingnian Drive, Daniel McClean, 47, from Hannahglen Heights, and Mark Gerard Heaney, 48, from Lagmore Glen, all in west Belfast, are also charged with IRA membership on the same dates.
They are also jointly charged with conspiring together and with other persons unknown to inflict grievous bodily harm with intent “on persons unknown” between the same dates along with counts relating to the false imprisonment of ‘person A’ and collecting information “of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism” on February 6 this year.
While Robert O’Neill faces a single count relating to the alleged possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, Heaney faces three firearms charges including having a gun and silencer with intent on April 10 this year, and a further charge that between January last year and last April, he “authorised the carrying out of an attack on an unknown person to assist the commission of GBH with intent.”
The charges arose after the men were arrested in west Belfast and Dunmurry on Tuesday by police investigating punishment attacks.