Northern Ireland news

Republicans bailed after arrest for breaching bail

Prominent republican Thomas Ashe Mellon addressing an Easter Monday commemoration in Derry in 2016. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

Two republicans have been released on bail after after being arrested for breaching earlier bail conditions.

Thomas Ashe Mellon (41) of Rathmore Road and Gary Hayden (45) of Tyrconnell Street, both in Derry, were charged with taking part in an unnotified public procession at a dissident republican Easter commemoration on April 2 in Derry.

Both men had been released on police bail which included conditions that they were not allowed to congregate with more than three people, that they were not allowed within Chamberlain Street where a dissident republican centre, Junior McDaid House, is located and that that they wee not allowed within 500 metres of any police operations.

Both men were arrested on Monday for breaching their bail after they held a press conference in Junior McDaid house.

A police officer told the court they had "blatantly breached" their bail and opposed them being released again as he believed they would not adhere to any conditions.

He said that the unlawful parade on Easter Monday had led to public disorder and bail conditions had been placed on the pair to prevent further disorder and to stop them taking part in other parades.

He said that Junior McDaid House was "a republican base for republican activists."

In response to questions from defence solicitor, Paddy MacDermott, the officer agreed that there was no evidence either man had taken part in the disturbances or that they had been part of a colour party.

Mr MacDermott said he had lodged a bail variation with the court that was due to be heard on Wednesday of this week.

District Judge Barney McElholm said bail conditions had to be "just and appropriate."

He said courts had to be aware of certain rights like freedom of speech and assembly.

Judge McElholm added: "I am sure the defendants and other people in this room may not even recognise the parade body but we can't have people parading all over the place."

He released both men on bail on conditions they did not associate with each other, stayed away from police operations and did not take part in any illegal parade.

Both men will appear again on April 25.

As they were being brought from the dock supporters in the public gallery applauded, with Judge McElholm commenting: "Really there is no need."

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