Senior Real IRA suspect in court

25 Jun 2006
The Observer
Henry McDonald

The alleged second-in-command of the Real IRA remains in custody today facing charges that he plotted to kill members of the security forces and to obtain weapons. Paul McCaugherty, 39, from Beech Court in Lurgan, appeared at a special sitting of Craigavon magistrates' court in Co Armagh yesterday. He was accused of being the deputy head of the Real IRA between 1 December 2005 and 19 June 2006.

He was also charged with conspiring with a person or persons unknown to murder members of the security forces in Northern Ireland between 24 May 2005 and 19 June 2006. He faced a third charge of plotting to possess firearms between those dates. The weapons were identified as AK-47 assault rifles, sniper rifles, heavy machine guns, pistols, silencers and assorted ammunition.

Other charges include conspiracy to possess explosives and arms with intent to endanger life or damage property between the same dates. These included SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles, 100kg of Semtex plastic explosives and under-car booby trap devices, detonators, detonator cords and anti-tank weapons.

The prosecution alleged that McCaugherty received euros 46,000 (pounds 31,600) and the deeds of a property in Portugal between 24 May 2005 and 13 June 2006. It was alleged that the premises were to be used for terrorism.

The final charge he faced was arranging for the money and property to be made available between 24 May 2005 and 13 June 2006 to another person who knew or had reasonable cause to suspect that such assets would be used or could be used for terrorism. (Note: Alvor, Portugal)

McCaugherty was remanded in custody to appear by video link at the same court on 20 July. He is the fourth man to be charged in connection with a European-wide security operation against alleged dissident republicans.

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