Former INLA man Dessie O’Hare has been granted bail as he fights extradition over his alleged role in the imprisonment of a Dublin family.
Sixty-year-old O’Hare, who was once known as the ‘Border Fox’, will be released from custody once a £20,000 cash surety is lodged, a judge in Belfast ruled today.
He is also to be banned from leaving Northern Ireland and must report to police daily.
O’Hare was detained at his Slaterock Road home in Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh, early on Tuesday morning in what was described as a special operation in the area.
He is wanted in the Republic of Ireland in connection with three counts of false imprisonment, threats to kill, grievous bodily harm and violent disorder.
The alleged offences relate to an incident at Garters Lane in Saggart, south Dublin in June last year.
With the ex-republican having confirmed he does not consent to extradition, a full hearing is due to take place next month.
Lawyers for the Irish authorities opposed his release until then, claiming he could flee.
They argued that he is being sought in connection with serious offences of violence and intimidation.
Belfast Recorders’ Court heard O’Hare is accused of being the leader of a gang involved in a “terrifying” incident.
When Garda arrived the wanted man and five others allegedly escaped through a nearby golf club.
CCTV recordings and witness recognition evidence were said to form part of the case against him.
Although no further details of the alleged offences were disclosed, counsel for O’Hare rejected claims they were serious enough to suspect he would go on the run.
Sean Devine argued: “Are they really suggesting he’s going to be an international fugitive over somebody getting chucked out of the house.”
O’Hare was described as a family man heavily involved in caring for his children and grandchildren.
The court heard he recently purchased 14 sheep which he looks after on some of the five acres of land surrounding his home.
His wife of more than 30 years gave evidence about their regular shopping trips across the border.
She also revealed that her husband has been on trips to Lourdes and Medjugorje.
Sheds on their land once used to grow mushrooms have now been given over to be used for storage by a cross-community organisation, she told the court.
“When Dessie was first released from prison he worked with a number of charities,” Mrs O’Hare said.
“That’s his good deeds if you like.”
Her Honour Judge Patricia Smyth was also told O’Hare is now part of a five-man team working for a tarmac contractor on both sides of the border.
With his Irish passport in the hands of the authorities, she ruled there were enough safeguards to grant bail.
As well as ordering a £20,000 cash surety, Judge Smyth imposed a night-time curfew and electronic monitoring.
She also confirmed O’Hare is forbidden from leaving Northern Ireland without the court’s consent. ends