Derry 'New IRA' accused willing to publicly disavow violence, High Court told

A man accused of directing the 'New IRA' is prepared to publicly disavow using violence to achieve Irish unity, the High Court heard today.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 5:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 5:36 pm
Counsel for Gary Hayden, 49, said he was prepared to make the declaration in order to secure release from custody.

Counsel for Gary Hayden, 49, said he was prepared to make the declaration in order to secure release from custody.

Hayden, of Tyrconnell Street in Derry, is among 10 people facing prosecution following a surveillance operation targeting the dissident republican grouping.

Suspects were arrested after police and MI5 covertly bugged meetings in Omagh, Co. Tyrone between February and July last year.

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Prosecutors claim those in attendance discussed membership of the IRA and its constitution, military and recruitment strategy, weaponry, interaction with other outlawed organisations and planned attacks.

A Crown lawyer contended: "We are dealing with the highest echelons of terrorist activity."

Hayden faces charges of directing the activities of the IRA, belonging to a proscribed organisation, and preparation of terrorist acts.

He mounted a renewed bid to be released after 51-year-old co-accused Patrick McDaid, of Magowan Park in Derry, was granted High Court bail.

McDaid's successful application depended on his cousin, the former Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney, lodging a £50,000 cash surety.

In court he also publicly disavowed the use violence for political aims.

Lawyers for Hayden argued that he should also now be granted bail in line with McDaid.

Defence barrister Stephen Mooney indicated that his client was prepared to make a similar pronouncement.

"It's Mr Hayden's instructions that he does not advocate the use of violence for the purpose of achieving Irish unity," he said.

"He is prepared to state that in open court."

However, Hayden was not asked to publicly eschew any such violent methods.

Adjourning the bail application, the judge drew a distinction between the level of surety on offer and the £50,000 lodged to secure McDaid's release.

Madam Justice Quinlivan pointed out that Mr McCartney had been willing to risk "political embarrassment".

She added: "He has put significant finances on the line, and also put his public personality on the line."