Republican 'told MI5 his group made Omagh bomb'

6 May 2010
The Irish News
Barry McCaffrey

An alleged Real IRA leader boasted to MI5 that his organisation had built the 1998 Omagh bomb, Belfast Crown Court heard yesterday.

However, Lurgan republican Paul McCaugherty - on trial over an alleged arms smuggling plot with two other Co Armagh men - said another dissident group had "screwed it up", leading to the massacre of 29 people including a woman pregnant with twins.

McCaugherty (43), of Beech Court, was in the dock with Desmond Kearns (44), of Tannaghmore Green, also Lurgan, and Dermot Gregory (41), of Concession Road in Crossmaglen. All are charged with involvement in a Real IRA plot to smuggle weapons and explosives into Northern Ireland in 2006.

The prosecution alleges that the trio tried to secure explosives, rocket launchers, hand-grenades and sniper rifles because dissidents "had to do something to try to restart things".

Prosecutors say McCaugherty was eager to secure hand-grenades to throw into police Land Rovers as they drove around with their rear doors open in summer.

The trio were arrested after a two-year MI5 sting. As their trial began yesterday the court was told that McCaugherty had met MI5 agents all over Europe in a bid to smuggle weapons to the Real IRA.

McCaugherty is alleged to have told an agent called 'Ali' that he needed rockets for attacks on unarmoured police vehicles and explosives for sandwich-box and shoe-box bombs.

The court heard that 'Ali' said he could provide 100kg of explosives, detonators, 20 AK47 assault rifles, 20 rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, 10 sniper rifles, 20 pistols and ammunition at a cost of EUR104,000 (£88,311).

When McCaugherty was asked what organisation he represented, he allegedly said it was "one of the heads of the same snake".

The trial has already met with controversy after lawyers for McCaugherty and Kearns demanded clarification over allegations that they had been entrapped by the security services and that Gregory, too, was an MI5 agent.

McCaugherty faces charges of conspiring to possess firearms and explosives and using EUR46,000 for terrorist purposes, IRA membership and making the deeds of a Portuguese restaurant available for the purposes of terrorism.

Kearns is accused of conspiring to possess guns and explosives.

Gregory is accused of making the restaurant deeds available for the purposes of terrorism.

Another MI5 agent codenamed 'Amir' is due to testify today.

0 Responses to "Republican 'told MI5 his group made Omagh bomb'"
Return to top of page Copyright © 2010 | Flash News Converted into Blogger Template by HackTutors