Northern Ireland news

Man (42) facing terrorism charges to apply to have bail terms amended to allow him to consume alcohol

The court has heard the allegations relate to shots fired at Enniskillen PSNI Station on March 17 2021

A 42-year-old man facing terrorism charges and with suspected Continuity IRA links is to apply to have his current bail terms amended to allow him to consume alcohol.

Gabriel Paul Meehan, originally from Pound Street, Irvinestown but bailed to James Street, Omagh is charged with having a shotgun, ammunition, two mobile phones, and details of a British Army captain’s vehicle.

The allegations relate to shots fired at Enniskillen PSNI Station on March 17 2021. The CIRA claimed responsibility.

Examination of Meehan’s phone revealed communication with two other suspects.

While initially released from custody by District Judge Steven Keown at Enniskillen Magistrates Court to an approved address, this affected the householder’s benefit entitlement and he had to leave.

Temporary accommodation was sought and an urgent bail variation on March 8 heard there may be several short-term placements until a permanent address is found.

Within days Meehan was arrested as police agreed to temporary accommodation, but not hostels.

A detective constable stated: "We don’t know who’s in these hostels or who the defendant is associating with".

Despite objections, Meehan was re-admitted to bail as the judge on that occasion was not content with how the matter was handled.

However, a further breach occurred when police conducted a bail check in April and discovered Meehan was absent during his curfew.

While he did present himself when officers returned, he was heavily intoxicated.

The judge again declined to revoke bail but added another condition banning alcohol, stressing: "This is a final warning and I want that noted by all concerned".

In July, police located Meehan in an Omagh pub and while he denied consuming alcohol was found to have a small amount in his system.

A detective pointed out this is Meehan’s third breach of bail and "it’s becoming clear that he has no regard for the authority of the court or conditions imposed upon him".

"He’s had several bail variations but continues to flout. After the last breach he was told it was the last chance.

"An additional condition of an alcohol ban was added, yet that is what he breached. The defendant has clearly demonstrated he will not abide by conditions imposed by the court."

While released again a defence barrister advised the most recent sitting of Enniskillen Magistrates Court he is seeking to have the alcohol ban removed, stating: "I don’t know why the ban was imposed at all as alcohol wasn’t a feature of the original allegation".

Judge Keown listed the variation for hearing on September 26.

Meanwhile, a committal date to transfer the case to crown court has been suggested for November 7, but it is not clear at this stage if that will go ahead.

Northern Ireland news