Northern Ireland news

Sean McVeigh bomb conviction a result of north-south policing cooperation

Sean McVeigh has been found guilty of the attempted murder of a police officer in Eglinton, Co Derry on June 18 2015

THE case of Co Armagh man Sean McVeigh is an example of how north-south policing co-operation has changed over recent decades.

While at one time republican suspects sought refuge in the south, in this case it was evidence gathered by An Garda Síochana and later passed to the PSNI that finally convicted the Lurgan man.

When, on the night of the attempted bombing, number plate recognition cameras identified a black Volkswagen Passat with a Republic of Ireland registration, police alerted gardaí based in Letterkenny.

The Passat was spotted by specialist Garda armed response officers who gave chase close to Ballybofey in Co Donegal, stopping the car by blocking its path about a mile outside the village of Killygordon.

McVeigh was sitting in the front passenger seat and traces of explosives residue were found on his clothing.

It was a combination of evidence gathered on both sides of the border that convicted McVeigh, who until his arrest had been a relatively low profile member of the group known as the 'New IRA'.

With conviction rates for this type of attack relatively low, the PSNI will be treating Friday's ruling as a huge success.

However, it will also raise questions about how this type of cross-border cooperation will continue to function with the very real prospect of a hard Brexit and all the border security challenges that will bring.

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