Two Derry men refused bail on mortar bomb charges

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Two Derry men have appeared in court this morning amid tight security, charged with possession of four mortars which police believe were ready for “imminent deployment”.

Gary McDaid, 37, of Glenowen Park and 35-year-old Seamus McLaughlin, of Eastway, are charged with conspiracy to cause an explosion on March 3.

They are further charged with possession of four improvised mortars and a pipe bomb with intent to endanger life and possession of an item likely to be of use to terrorists, namely a Citizen Berlingo van.

The public gallery at Derry Magistrate’s Court was packed with supporters of the defendants who waved as they were brought into the dock.

There was also a heavy police presence inside and outside the court.

Both men were refused bail and were remanded in custody.

District Judge Barney McElholm said that “people committed to this mindless and pointless terrorism, which is going to achieve precisely nothing in real terms, seem hell bent with continuing these activities”.

He said there was a real fear of further offences and risk of flight.

The accused were remanded in custody until March 28.

Scuffles broke out outside the courthouse following the court appearance between supporters of the two men and police.