Two charged with directing terrorism in Northern Ireland

Two men accused of directing republican terrorism in Northern Ireland attended a meeting in Co Tyrone to plan their activities, a court has heard.

A senior investigating officer confirmed the involvement of secret service MI5 in an operation against the New IRA which led to the arrests.

The gathering was held in Omagh earlier this year, charges linking the accused to IRA membership said.

Shea Reynolds, 26, and Patrick McDaid, 50, appeared at Belfast Magistrates’ Court via video-link on Saturday to face the charges.

The detective told the court: “Police work in conjunction with other statutory bodies in keeping the community safe.

“I can assure the court that the police take all decisions when it comes to policing matters.”

A lawyer for one of the men challenged whether police had adequately communicated with her client.

The detective said: “The evidence was put to your client during interviews and he was made fully aware of how this matter was recorded.”

Laganside Court
Laganside Court

The two men were accused of attending the meeting in Omagh, Co Tyrone, as part of their activities.

All the alleged wrongdoing relates to earlier this year, up until last month.

Reynolds, from Belvedere Manor in Lurgan, Co Armagh, faced four charges in court.

They included conspiracy to possess Semtex explosives to endanger life and intending to commit acts of terrorism through attending the meeting in Omagh.

McDaid, from Magowan Park in Londonderry, faced three charges, including intending to commit acts of terrorism.

Neither man spoke during the hearing.

They appeared remotely from a Belfast police station and were casually dressed in T-shirts.

There was no application for bail and they were remanded in custody until September 18.

The New IRA is opposed to the peace process and has carried out many attacks on police.

There has been a revived security forces focus on the activities of the organisation since the death of journalist Lyra McKee, who was shot last year while she was observing a riot.