Northern Ireland

DCI John Caldwell: Accused Alan Lundy named in court as New IRA commanding officer in Belfast

Court told police surveillance captured two accused re-enacting moment senior officer was shot

Alan Lundy named in court as New IRA OC in Belfast
Alan Lundy pictured at an Easter commemoration in Milltown Cemetery (Mal McCann)

A MAN charged with attempting to murder Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell has been named in court as the suspected leader of the New IRA in Belfast.

Alan Lundy (44), from Flax Street in Ardoyne, north Belfast, is also accused of preparing for terrorist acts.

His father, also Alan, was shot dead by loyalists at the home of Alex Maskey in west Belfast in 1993. The father-of five was targeted as he carried out renovations at the property of his friend who was the intended target of the UDA hit squad.

Mr Maskey, then a Belfast city councillor, escaped injury after taking cover in the bathroom of his house.

Opposing bail on Friday at Dungannon Magistrates Court, prosecuting counsel alleged that Lundy is, “Interictal to the acquisition, storage and disposal of vehicles” used in the bid by the dissident group to kill the senior PSNI officer last February.

It also heard that Lundy is believed to be the New IRA commanding officer in Belfast and co-accused Brian Carron, who is also charged with attempted murder, is his Tyrone counterpart.

Lundy is only one of the 14 defendants allegedly involved to be charged with directing a terrorist organisation.

It was previously disclosed there was previous attempt to attack DCI Caldwell three weeks before the incident last February.

Brian Carron
Brian Carron

The senior police officer was ambushed and shot in front of his son after coaching a youth football team in Omagh last February.

Dungannon Magistrates Court heard on Friday that Lundy was allegedly involved in meetings with others connected to the attack in which, “operational security was employed, with meetings arranged by short phone calls. Meetings took place outdoors by ‘a walk-and-talk’.

“Mobile phones were taken to meetings but left in cars. These are active before and after the meetings, but not during. Plans are put in place and key events occur afterwards,” the court heard.

It was disclosed seven mobile phones were seized during a search of Lundy’s property but no access codes were provided. In addition, a phone he is suspected of using around the time of the attack has not been found.

Around 10 days after the shooting a protest was held outside Palace Barracks, by a group which met in west Belfast beforehand, with footage showing Carron and Lundy in discussions.

DCI John Caldwell was shot earlier this year. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA
DCI John Caldwell who survived a murder bid in February 2023. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA

During this, “Carron is seen re-enacting a shooting with a man holding his arms up which was indicative of the pose adopted by DCI Caldwell during the attempt on his life. This detail was not public knowledge at that time.”

Lundy was spoken of by others captured covert recordings in Operation Arbacia in which he was described as “The most sincere volunteer. If you haven’t got him as OC in Belfast, you’re in difficulties.”

The prosecution said, “During interviews lasting 7 hours 44 minutes the defendant remained silent and refused to acknowledge the court when charged. That of course is his choice, but choices have consequences, and it could be seen as a complete refusal to acknowledge or abide by any conditions the court may impose if granted bail.”

She added the attack, “Was a replanned and sophisticated operation by those dedicated to violence. There are substantial grounds to suspect further offences will occur and they will be grave. The defendant is of a mindset and association sympathetic to violent dissident republican activity, The current threat level is severe. The claim note stated, ‘You will have to live a normal life and one day the IRA will be waiting’. That was a very sinister threat which has to be taken seriously.”

Defence counsel however argued bail should be granted as there is no evidence connecting Lundy to the attack and “This is at best an inherently weak prosecution case, based upon supposition and inference.”

However bail was refused.