‘REAL IRA’ TRAINING CAMP SUSPECT GRANTED BAIL

Gavin Coney granted bail when he appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Monday

Gavin Coney granted bail when he appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Monday

A man charged with attending a ‘Real IRA’ training camp which had been under security force surveillance was granted bail today (Monday).

Gavin Joseph Coney (36) was freed from prison custody after his wife’s parents put up the deeds to their home as surety to help secure his release.

The defendant was one of four people – his brother Aiden Coney (34), Sharon RAfferty (38) and Sean Kelly (47) – who were charged by detectives from the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch over the discovery of the firing range at Formil Wood, Co Tyrone, in March 2012.

Prosecutors claim the camp was in the advanced stage of preparations for a terrorist attack on police or the public.

Gavin Coney, of Gorticashel Road, Greencastle, Co Tyrone, faces charged linked to his legally held .22 Walter rifle.

It is alleged the weapon was used to shoot balloons on the makeshit firing range on the Gorticashel Road which had been under surveillance for months.

He is accused of possessing the rifle and a quantity of ammunition with intent to endanger life and having them in suspicious circumstances.

The suspect has also been charged with having a sounder moderator or ‘silencer’ for the weapon, possessing four balaclavas, four water proof jackets, four pairs of waterproof trousers, four pairs of training shoes and two pairs of gloves for use in acts of terrorism.

During the bail application, a prosecution lawyer told Belfast Crown that the clothing and shoes which were found at Coney’s home were essentially “four sets of full kit” for use at the Formil Wood training camp.

He said the .22 Walter rifle was seized by police and his firearms certificate would more than likely now be revoked.

A defence QC told Recorder Judge David McFarland that Coney’s parents-in-law, Anthony and Patricia Donnelly, were prepared to put up the deeds to their home and outbuildings at Gorticashel Road, valued at £140,000, in lieu of a £20,000 surety sought by the Crown.

Following legal submissions, Judge McFarland agreed to release Coney on bail subject to strict conditions.

He ruled that he must:

* reside at 198 Goricashel Road and no other address;

* lodge into court a cash surety of £3,000;

* lodge into court the title deeds to his parents-in-law home at 264 Gorticashel Road to cover the £20,000 surety;

* surrender his Irish passport and must not apply for a British passport;

* sign bail with police three times a week and not leave the Northern Ireland jurisdiction;

* abide by a 10 pm to 6 am curfew;

* be electronically tagged;

* not handle firearms or ammunition;

* not enter Formil Wood;

* not contact any civilian Crown witnesses;

* notify the police of motor vehicle he intends to use on his release from jail;

* not to contact Shane Duffy, Paul Duffy and Damien Duffy.

The court heard Shane Duffy (41), Paul Duffy (47) and Damien Duffy (42) are currently in custody charged in connection with other dissident republican offences.

The three Lurgan men were charged at Lisburn Magistrates Court in May 2012 with conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause an explosion.

Paul Duffy was further accused of directing a dissident republican terrorist organisation.

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