Northern Ireland news

Convicted paramilitary refused permission to take partner on holiday in Republic

Liam Hannaway

A MAN convicted of paramilitary offences has been refused permission to take his partner to the Republic for a five night break over concerns he may flee the jurisdiction.

Lawyers for Liam Hannaway (50), of White Rise, Dunmurry in west Belfast, had applied to vary his bail conditions to facilitate the short break across the border.

Last month Hannaway was one of seven men who pleaded guilty to a large number of terrorist charges arising out of a MI5 bugging operation on a bungalow in Newry's Ardcarn Park where the leadership of the Continuity IRA were holding meetings to plot terror attacks.

At Belfast Crown Court today a prosecution barrister objected to the bail variation, saying that although Hannaway had been on bail for some time now, he had pleaded guilty on Friday, January 31 this year to "quite significant and very serious offences''.

Hannaway pleaded guilty to charges of belonging or professing to belong to a proscribed organisation, providing weapons and explosives training, conspiring to possess explosives, firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

He further admitted conspiracy to possess explosives, firearms and ammunition with intent, along with preparing acts of terrorism and collecting information likely to be of use to terrorists.

The prosecution barrister told Mr Justice Colton: "He has a very significant entry on his record. He received 10 years' imprisonment in 2008 for explosives offences.

"There is also a real concern given that he has been convicted of these offences and faces a lengthy sentence, he might not return to this jurisdiction and may take the opportunity to even leave these islands."

However, the barrister said that if the court was minded to vary the bail conditions, the officer in charge of the case had made inquiries with police in the Republic who could facilitate Hannaway signing bail on a daily basis.

"If he failed to sign on one of those days, the authorities in the Republic would be fairly quick on his case and there is good liaison between the two forces,'' he added.

Defence barrister Tom McCreanor said Hannaway had been granted permission before to travel to the Republic and had complied with his bail conditions and "that should give confidence to the court''.

Mr McCreanor said that Hannway's partner was "currently awaiting a diagnosis'' on a medical condition and given that the outcome could be serious he wanted to take away on a short break to Co Monaghan.

He added that any concerns that the court might have about a risk of flight "would be met by daily reporting'' with Gardaí in Monaghan.

Refusing the bail variation, Mr Justice Colton said: "Mr Hannaway has pleaded guilty to very serious offences.

"I had considered on the day of the pleas that bail should be revoked but I took the view that would not be appropriate and to allow them time to prepare their mitigation.

"Given his plea of guilty to very serious offences I don't think it would be appropriate in the circumstances to vary bail,'' added Mr Justice Colton.

Hannaway and his co-accused will be sentenced next month.

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