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Concerns amid claims MI5 'seek information' on west Belfast man prior to trial

A caller identifying himself as MI5 made enquiries in relation to recently bailed republican Carl Reilly.

A SOLICITOR for leading republican Carl Reilly has claimed attempts by MI5 to obtain information about his client could be detrimental to the fair administration of justice.

The west Belfast republican was bailed in July of this year on strict conditions after spending two years on remand charged with directing terrorism and membership of a proscribed organisation.

His arrest was based on surveillance carried out by gardaí at the Carrickdale Hotel near Dundalk, Co Louth, in January 2014.

The 41-year-old was the chairman of Republican Network for Unity at the time.

His co-accused, 43-year-old Paul Crawford from Warrenpoint, Co Down, was charged with belonging to an outlawed organisation also based on the covert recordings.

Both men have entered not guilty pleas in relation to the allegations.

When the case comes to court later this year it will be the first time covert surveillance, obtained in the Republic, forms the main body of evidence in a prosecution case in Northern Ireland.

However a solicitor for Reilly has voiced concerns amid claims that a man claiming to work for M15 contacted a member of a prisoners' support group making enquiries about Reilly's "current thinking" since being released on bail.

The call, which was made last week, was recorded and has been handed to solicitors representing Reilly.

Niall Murphy of KRW Law said: "We are very concerned about this unwelcome and potentially unlawful approach which could potentially interfere with an ongoing Crown court case".

A spokesperson for Cogús, a republican prisoners support group, described the approach as "sinister".

"Cogús is a perfectly legal and lawful support network for republican political prisoners and their families", the spokesman added.

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