Pair charged with terrorism offences after ‘IRA meeting’

Newry Courthouse
Newry Courthouse

Two suspected dissident republicans have appeared in court in Northern Ireland charged with terrorism offences.

Kevin Heaney, 41, from Mourne View Park in Newry, Co Down, was charged with receiving instruction and training in the making or use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in September this year.

Co-accused Terence Marks, 54, from Parkhead Crescent, also in Newry, waved and smiled to a group of women in the public gallery as he was formally charged with conspiring to cause an explosion.

Both men, who appeared before a sitting of Newry Magistrates Court, are also accused of being members of a proscribed organisation, namely the IRA.

They spoke only once to confirm their names, dates of birth and that they understood the charges against them.

A PSNI detective sergeant told the court she believed she could connect both suspects to the alleged offences.

Lawyers for both men said they would be applying for bail at a later date, but had no questions at this stage.

Remanding the suspects in custody District Judge Paul Copeland said: “You are both remanded in custody to appear by way of videolink for court in Newry in January.

“Your solicitor will advise on your rights to apply for bail.”

Approving applications for legal aid, the judge added: “Neither of these accused have any discernable resources.”

Last month, 12 men were arrested during a dramatic police raid on a house in Ardcarn Park, Newry.

Seven of those were charged with a series of terror offences while the other five were released pending reports being sent to prosecutors for assessment.

During subsequent court appearances, it was revealed that the house had been bugged for three months as part of a covert surveillance operation by MI5.

The prosecution alleges, during that time, a number of Continuity IRA leadership meetings were recorded. The court was also told that detectives were still actively searching for a number of other individuals allegedly recorded during the meetings.

Both defendants, who were brought to court in a prison van, stood in the dock handcuffed to a uniformed guard.

Bespectacled and balding Marks was dressed in a grey, round-neck woollen jumper and jeans. As he was being taken to the cells, he waved and gave the thumbs up signal to two women seated in the public gallery.

Heaney was wearing a dark zip-up jacket and jeans. He stared straight ahead with a sombre expression for most of the hearing.

The case has been adjourned until January 7.