Northern Ireland news

DUP's Gregory Campbell slams 'lenient' sentences for dissident bombers

Brian Walsh and Darren Poleon, and right, Ciaran Maxwell
Brendan Hughes

THE DUP's Gregory Campbell has criticised the "lenient" jail terms for Brian Walsh and Darren Poleon.

The Co Meath men were both given 10-year sentences yesterday - with five to be spent in jail and five on licence.

The pair may be able to apply for permission to spend the licence period of their terms in the Republic.

By comparison, former Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell was sentenced in July to 18 years in prison and a further five on licence for supplying bombs to dissident republicans.

The 31-year-old, originally from Larne but based in Somerset, was convicted at the Old Bailey in London.

Walsh (35), from Drumree in Dunshaughlin, and Poleon (43), from Lightown in Kells, were sentenced at Belfast Crown Court.

East Derry MP Mr Campbell claimed it was unlikely a similar conviction in Britain would receive such a "lenient sentence".

"Many people will question why two dissident republican terrorists will only serve five years in prison for planting a bomb that was intended to murder and maim," he said.

"The last year has seen an increased threat particularly in the north west and the police are to be congratulated for the work they are doing in apprehending terrorist suspects.

"However, given the threat posed it is particularly disappointing that such a lenient sentence has been imposed when a much tougher sentence was applicable and could have been handed out.

"It is highly unlikely that anyone convicted of such a terrorist offence in any other part of the United Kingdom would receive such a lenient sentence."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news