Omagh bomb suspect ‘supplied explosives to bomb-accused couple’

Orla O'Hanlon is accused of making and possessing explosives
Orla O'Hanlon is accused of making and possessing explosives

A man suspected of involvement in the Omagh bomb atrocity is alleged to have supplied explosives which were found in a couple’s south Armagh home two years ago, a court has heard.

The claim was made during the trial of Keith McConnan, 21, and 20-year-old Orla O’Hanlon who were arrested in December 2013 after their Forkhill home was searched by police officers acting under the Justice and Security Act.

The couple have been charged with a host of terrorist offences including making and possessing explosives.

The charges arise from the discovery in their rented bungalow of an industrial grinder, a “complete” timer power unit and a quantity of crushed ammonium nitrate fertiliser – which the Crown says has been “encountered in improvised explosive substances” in Northern Ireland in the past.

McCannon, from Tievecom Road in Forkhill, and O’Hanlon, from Church Road in the village, both deny the charges levelled against them and are currently in the dock of Belfast Crown Court for their non-jury Diplock trial.

During defence cross examination, a PSNI detective constable confirmed to the court that a man named only as Mr X had been arrested and questioned over the August 15, 1998 Omagh bomb atrocity in which 29 people, including unborn children, died.

Asked by Barry McDonald, defence QC for McConnan, if he was aware that the Mr X had supplied ammonium nitrate which was found in the house, the officer said he wasn’t.

Under further questioning, the detective said during his research into Mr X, he discovered that he had been one of 50 people arrested as part of the investigation into the Omagh massacre.

He also told the court that Mr X had been arrested by An Garda Siochana detectives in connection with the find at the Forkhill home of McConnan and O’Hanlon.

But he added that Mr X was not charged in connection with the Forkhill explosives find.

At hearing.