Man 'tried to procure weapons for RIRA'

24 April 2007
The Irish News

A Co Armagh man was "caught red-handed trying to procure weapons" for the Real IRA, a bail hearing has heard. Desmond Kearns (42) from Tannaghmore Green in Lurgan, Co Antrim, is in custody on a charge of conspiracy to possess firearms with intent. During a compassionate bail hearing at the High Court in Belfast yesterday, a Crown lawyer said that in 2004, the accused and his wife travelled across Europe to obtain cigarettes. It is claimed the plan was to smuggle the cigarettes into Ireland. During their travels they became involved with undercover security personnel who recorded them during alleged cigarette deals. The lawyer claimed the cigarette dealing was "part of a means to fund a terrorist organisation".

He told Lord Justice Girvan that at a later date that an attempt was made by Mr Kearns to procure arms for a terrorist organisation named in court as the Real IRA. Saying there was a strong prosecution case against Mr Kearns linking him to the plot to buy guns for dissident republicans, the lawyer said: "This individual was caught red-handed trying to procure weapons for a terrorist organisation."

A lawyer for Mr Kearns said his client was seeking bail this weekend to attend his son's confirmation. After two sureties of £10,000 each were put before the court, Lord Justice Girvan said Mr Kearns would be released from custody between 9am and 6pm on Saturday to attend the event.

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