Alleged Dundalk bomb maker refused bail

McConnan appeared at Newry Magistrates Court

McConnan appeared at Newry Magistrates Court

An alleged dissident republican bomb maker from Dundalk has been refused bail after a judge deemed he appeared to be “more actively involved in this enterprise” than first believed.

The comments were made by District Judge Eamonn King after he heard that the police investigation into 19-year-old Keith McConnan had revealed further evidence allegedly linking him to the manufacture of a “fully fledged” bomb.

A Detective Constable had earlier told Newry Magistrates’ Court that a fingerprint allegedly belonging to McConnan was found on a bag containing a “fully constructed” timer power unit (TPU), that there was evidence indicating that he used a pseudonym to buy both the unit and other component parts.

The officer also said a search of McConnan’s home in Dundalk uncovered a large quantity of sugar-based material and that terrorist organisations regularly used material such as glucose in conjunction with ground down fertiliser to make improvised explosive devices.

McConnan, who is originally from Dundalk but now has an address at Tievecrom Road in Forkhill, faces three charges of possessing explosive substances namely a timer power unit and ground down ammonium nitrate with intent to endanger life and making an explosive substance with intent to endanger life on a date between 15 to 18 December last year.

His girlfriend, Orla O’Hanlon, 18 and of the same address, faces the same charges after police raided their home just before Christmas last year when they found the timer power unit, an industrial grinder with associated ground down fertiliser and a large amount of latex gloves.

Objecting to McConnan being released on bail, the officer described how the TPU was ready to be deployed and that it could be detonated remotely by a mobile phone, adding that since the initial search, it had been confirmed the white powder found in the grinder, the kitchen and in a vacuum cleaner was ground down ammonium nitrate fertiliser.

He also claimed that forensic examinations of the plastic bag containing the TPU uncovered a finger print attributable to McConnan and that when his main address in Dundalk was searched, police found a quantity of sugar-based material regularly used in homemade bombs.

The officer further claimed that the police had evidence that McConnan had used a fake name to buy the sugar-based material, the TPU and a quantity of wire adding that taking everything together, “we have a fully-fledged homemade explosive device”.

Under cross examination from defence lawyer Kelly Doherty, the officer agreed that McConnan had a clear record and that his girlfriend O’Hannon had been granted High Court bail but he claimed that she would not have been released if the High Court had heard the same information.

He further agreed there was no forensic DNA evidence linking McConnan to any of the materials but told the lawyer that was no surprise “given the extensive amount of latex gloves found”.

The officer said police were objecting to bail on the grounds that McConnan would reoffend and given that he potentially faced a lengthy jail term, had an address in the Republic and had access to significant funds, he may flee the jurisdiction.

Refusing the bail application and remanding McConnan into custody to appear again on 25 May, Judge King commented that the “first impression” he had when the couple first appeared before him was that “these two individuals were used by more sinister people”.

The judge added, however, that given the police claims on Wednesday “it would tend to indicate that this particular defendant was more actively involved in this enterprise”.

Source: UTV News

Castle Leslie wedding open day

Castle Leslie Estate

Castle Leslie Estate

Castle Leslie Estate in Glaslough, Co Monaghan will host a wedding open day on Sunday May 4th from 2pm to 6pm.

To register your interest in attending email events@castleleslie.com or visit www.castleleslie.com and visited the dedicated weddings section.

Louth road programme budget down by more than €5m since 2008

The figures for our roads budget 2008-2014

The figures for our roads budget 2008-2014

Louth’s roads programme has suffered cuts in funding of €5m since 2008, according to new figures.

The data, published by local councillor Tomás Sharkey on social, show that there was almost €10.7m spent on roads in the county in 2008.

This has fallen to just €5.6m for this year with the fund also decreasing by just under €5m from the €10.3m it stood at it in 2011.

The state of our roads has been one of the biggest issues raised by people in the build-up to the local elections and has caused some outrage considering car tax has risen in recent times.

Horseware tent sale this weekend at the Louth County Show

horseware_irelandHorseware Ireland will host a tent sale this Saturday and Sunday at the Louth County Show.

Ladies, mens and children’s clothing will be available at low prices with free admission and car parking.

The show takes place at the Circle T Ranch in Dromiskin with further details available by calling 042-9389000.

Dundalk Milk Cup squad to host Curry & Craic fundraiser

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The Dundalk U-15 team who are heading to the Milk Cup in Coleraine this summer will host a Curry & Craic Night in Jim Reilly’s Bar at Oriel Park on Friday May 30th.

The fundraising night gets underway from 8.30pm with a disco planned for the night.

Tickets are just €5 and all support is welcomed.

Public being warned about Garda impersonator in the area

The public are being warned to be wary of a man posing as a gardaí in the area at present.

The warning comes after an elderly man in Ardee handed over a sum of cash to a person claiming to be a member of An Garda Siochana last Thursday.

The supposed Garda called to the man’s home around 10.30am and told him he had counterfeit cash in his property, which had to be tested.

The homeowner subsequently handed over the money after being shown fake ID.

While this has been an isolated incident, people are being urged to be wary.

Dundalk Town Council criticised by Local Government Auditor

Town Clerk Frank Pentony

Town Clerk Frank Pentony

Dundalk Town Council has come in for criticism from a Local Government Auditor for not informing it of its recent internal rent arrears investigation.

The auditor said they first heard news of the investigation through the media.

Last month it was revealed that six tenants were affected, with the outcome of the review set to be revealed shortly.

Expressing disappointment at not being informed about the matter considering she was present in the council at the time, the auditor said it would be reviewed again in the 2013 audit.

Town Clerk Frank Pentony told last night’s monthly meeting of the local authority that the matter had only come to light as the 2012 audit was being completed and said that, at that point, the council did not know whether they had a case to answer.

Following last night’s meeting, councillors were briefed in private on the matter by council staff.

It has since emerged that a formal complaint has been made to Gardaí in Dundalk as part of the rent arrears investigation.

Cinema at Dundalk Retail Park given the go ahead

Plans for a new cinema at Dundalk Retail Park have been given the go ahead by An Bord Pleanála

Plans for a new cinema at Dundalk Retail Park have been given the go ahead by An Bord Pleanála

EXCLUSIVE

Plans for a new cinema at Dundalk Retail Park have been given the go ahead by An Bord Pleanála.

Last November, Dundalk Town Council granted planning permission to David Carson, the receiver and manager over Finnabair Estates Limited (who are in receivership), to convert three units at the retail park into a cinema.

The units in question – 2, 3 and 4 – were all formerly occupied by Harvey Norman, who closed its doors in Dundalk at the start of last summer.

However, in early December appeals against the decision of the local authority were lodged by the Marshes Shopping Centre – who also have plans for a cinema in the town which are also subject to approval by An Bord Pleanála – and IMC Cinema, who operate the town’s only current cinema at Carroll Village.

Both objectors said they felt that the proposed cinema would have an “impact on the functionality and viability” of the Retail Park and have “consequences for the future provision of retail warehousing in Dundalk”.

They pointed out that An Bord Pleanála have shown precedence in refusing permission for similar cinema proposals in retail parks and also claim that the proposal is “contrary to principles of sustainable land use and transportation, including the Government’s Smarter Travel policies.”

However, earlier this month An Bord Pleanála decided to grant permission with revised conditions. They found that “the proposed development would not seriously injure the amenities of the area, would be acceptable in terms of its impact on the vitality and viability of Dundalk town centre, would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety and convenience and would be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

Conditions issued relate to water drainage, signage, shutters and opening hours but are unlikely to hinder plans for a new cinema at the former Harvey Norman units.

The proposal for the Retail Park would see a seven screen cinema built including an entrance foyer with ticket kiosk, food and beverage stalls, a coffee shop, service and ciculation areas and toilets.

A new main entrance would also be created at unit 2, closing off the entrances to units 3 and 4. There are also proposals for new emergency exits and for the construction of an internal wall between units 4 and 5 to facilitate unit 5 to operate as a standalone retail warehouse unit.

Maeve Yore to run in local elections in Dundalk South

Maeve Yore

Maeve Yore

Maeve Yore is the latest name to put herself forward for the forthcoming local elections.

Maeve, from Blakely Close on the Avenue Road, is best known for her involvement with local community group SNAP (Special Needs Active Parents). A founding member, she remains chairperson of the group.

She will be running for election in the Dundalk South constituency when people go to the polls next month.

Maeve is married to local fireman Martin Yore, who is the station officer for Louth County Council’s Fire & Rescue Service and a former president of the Dundalk Lions Club.

She was also involved in last year’s Santa Run committee, which yesterday was confirmed as having broken a new world record.