Man sent back to jail for ‘planning dissident attacks’

Northern Ireland's Security Minister has sent a Belfast man back to jail based on intelligence alleging he was a Real IRA leader planning terror attacks immediately after his release, a court has heard.

The reasons for revoking Terence McCafferty's licence were disclosed as he lost his appeal against the decision being taken by Paul Goggins.



His lawyers had argued that only Secretary of State Shaun Woodward had the power to order his return to prison.



McCafferty, from the New Lodge area, received a 12-year sentence in July 2005 after being convicted of possessing explosives. The 41-year-old was released on licence last November, only to be rearrested the following month and returned to Maghaberry Prison.



Ruling on the new challenge, Lord Justice Coghlin set out the contents of a letter from the Security Minister giving reasons for revoking his licence.



It stated: “In reaching that decision Paul Goggins had regard to information made available to him that you are a leading and active member of the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA), who held the position of officer commanding of RIRA prisoners within HMP Maghaberry prior to your release from prison in November 2008.



“During your sentence, you remained in regular contact with senior RIRA members and involved in directing RIRA business, and displayed a clear desire to continue your involvement in RIRA activity on your release, including in becoming involved in plans for attacks that would present a threat to public safety.



McCafferty categorically denies the allegations.



Dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Coghlin acknowledged ultimate responsibility for security in Northern Ireland rests with the Secretary of State.



“Both occupy high offices of State,” he said. “In such circumstances, it is entirely appropriate that the Minister of State should be entitled to exercise the Secretary of State's decision making functions under the 1995 (Remission of Sentences) Act.”

* Source: The Belfast Telegraph.

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