Northern Ireland: Man fled to Scotland using IRA links, court hears

A Dublin man wanted over a suspected bid to kill a PSNI officer allegedly used his IRA connections to flee to Scotland, a court heard today.

Sean Paul Farrell, 35, appeared before magistrates in Belfast after he was arrested and brought back to Northern Ireland.

He is charged with attempting to murder the off-duty policeman with an under-car bomb.

The incident happened in Eglinton, County Derry on 18 June, 2015.

Mr Farrell, with a previous address at Kilfenora Road, Crumlin, faces a further count of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life.

‘Devastating consequences’

A detective said the improvised explosive device (IED) planted under the officer’s car could have had “devastating” consequences.

In February this year the High Court in Dublin ordered Mr Farrell’s extradition to Northern Ireland.

But according to police he went missing the following month.

He was detained under a warrant in the Glasgow area on Thursday.

‘He will do the same’

Opposing bail at Belfast Magistrates’ Court, an investigating detective claimed Mr Farrell would go on the run again if released.

“We believe he’s a member of the IRA and that he has used his connections within the IRA to leave the Republic of Ireland and get to Scotland,” he said.

“If he gets out, with all his connections, he will do the same.”

District Judge Fiona Bagnall was told the dissident paramilitary organisation remained active and posed a severe threat, targeting police officers, prison staff and members of the judiciary.

The detective told the court: “There have been 200-plus incidents where ATO (Army Technical Officers) have been called to the IRA’s work over a 12-month period.”

During cross-examination by a defence solicitor, he also confirmed there was no forensic evidence linking Farrell to the under-car bomb.

Mr Farrell was allegedly in a stolen car involved in the murder bid a number of hours later, when it was spotted in County Donegal.

Disputing police assertions that his client absconded, the lawyer insisted Mr Farrell had attended court throughout the extradition proceedings.

But despite offering a £10,000 surety, bail was refused due to the risk of flight.

Judge Bagnall remanded Mr Farrell in custody to appear again by video-link on 19 June.