THIS is the public face of the ‘New IRA’ dissident terror group who faced a court on Monday over a weapons and bomb find in Derry/Londonderry.
Nathan Hastings, a telecommunications worker from Stradowen Drive in Strathfoyle, is charged with possession firearms, imitation firearms, ammunition and explosives.
The 20-year-old is also charged with possessing an improvised explosive device.
Police believe undercover officers foiled a potential gun and bomb attack on security forc members.
The court was told Hastings did not speak during a series of extensive interviews over two days following his arrest.
A police officer told the court he was the driver of a Citroen Zara car, which was one of two vehicles stopped by police in an operation targeting dissident republican activity.
The driver of the second car, a 54-year-old local man, was also arrested but later released unconditionally.
The officer said inside the car driven by the defendant police found the items in a plastic bag in the front passenger footwell.
He described the defendant as being the public face of the 32 county sovereignty movement and said that almost two hours before his arrest he was seen abandoning his own car, a Vauxhall Astra at Fanad Drive in the Creggan estate.
Bail was refused Hastings, who has no criminal record and who is a father of a two-year-old boy was remanded in custody until 8 May.
Earlier this month he was interviewed by Channel 4 New over this summer’s G8 summit in Fermanagh and planned protests by dissident republicans.
Days before the interview, Hastings led a dissident republican Easter commemoration in the city.
He told Channel 4 News there is growing dissatisfaction with Sinn Fein and the peace process, leading to increased support for militarism.
The ‘New IRA’, he claimed was “the biggest and easily the most feared organisation in the country”.
He was four-years-old when the Provisional IRA declared their ceasefire, part of a new generation of disaffected young people choosing to live a life of constant police harassment as a “dissident” supporter.
“Everywhere in Derry no matter what estate you go into, minus one or two, you have graffiti, literature, signs supporting republicanism and throughout Derry there’s resounding support for the role played by the IRA over the last 30-40 years and the current role played by the IRA,” he told Channel 4.
“The G8 being present in County Fermanagh is the British saying they have the situation here well wrapped up; ‘there’s no security threat here’. It’s sending a message to placate Unionists and sending a message to the world about Ireland.”