Derry man facing 'IRA' membership charge bailed to attend father's funeral

A Derry man who allegedly attended secretly recorded 'New IRA' leadership meetings is to be released from prison for his father's funeral, a High Court judge ruled today.

Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 5:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 5:04 pm
Derry IRA accused released on bail.

Patrick McDaid, 51, was granted overnight bail on condition that his cousin, the former Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney, acts as surety and chaperone.

The defendant must remain accompanied by Mr McCartney throughout the service on Wednesday.

Mr Justice McAlinden stressed: "It will be a matter of significant reputational damage if that amount of supervision is not exercised, or there is any untoward outcome. I'm sure Mr McCartney is fully aware of the significance of it."

McDaid, of Magowan Park in the city, is among 10 people currently in custody following the joint MI5/PSNI surveillance operation.

He faces charges of IRA membership and preparing for acts of terrorism in connection with meetings in Omagh, Co Tyrone between February and July last year.

Prosecutors claimed those in attendance debated the possible kidnapping of drug dealers to obtain an arsenal of weapons and a £500,000 ransom.

Covertly recorded talks also explored potential bombing campaigns, cyber attacks and securing the backing of a foreign government hostile to the United Kingdom, previous courts heard.

Based on the comments, McDaid is believed to have travelled to Lebanon and made contact with the militant Hezbollah grouping, prosecutors said.

It was also claimed that during discussions about dealing with informants he stated: "There has to be f***ing punishment."

According to the prosecution he is a senior member within the dissident republican terror grouping, identified as the chair of its Executive.

But defence lawyers argued that McDaid has stated his opposition to any political violence.

They described the meetings as being attended by a "ragbag" of people without any clear purpose and posing no threat to peace.

The gatherings were just an "echo chamber" for talks about a bygone era of Irish republicanism, it was contended.

Another part of the defence centres on any role played by so-called agent provocateur and suspected MI5 agent Dennis McFadden in organised the meetings.

McDaid's request for compassionate bail was opposed by the prosecution and police.

A Crown lawyer submitted: "Releasing the applicant overnight would create an unmanageable risk."

However, the judge ruled that he can be temporarily let out of prison under conditions which prohibit any mobile phone use.

He added: "I want to make sure this works, and give some reassurance to the police."