Meath pair admit to terror offences over NI hotel bomb

The Waterfoot Hotel
The Waterfoot Hotel

Two men from Co Meath have admitted terrorist offences linked to a bomb at a Londonderry hotel which was due to host a PSNI recruitment event.

Darren Polean, 42 and from Lightown in Drumbaragh, and and Brian Walsh, 34 and from Culmullen in Drumree, appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Thursday, where barristers for both men asked that they be re-arraigned on offences arising from the discovery of explosives at the Waterfoot Hotel in October 2015.

The pair initially faced, and denied, four charges levelled against them.

After pleading guilty to two offences, the remaining two charges faced by Polean and Walsh were left on the books, not to be proceeded with.

After the court clerk read a charge of possessing an explosive substance ith intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property on October 6, 2015, she then asked both men how they pleaded.

Both men replied “guilty”.

They also admitted a charge of possessing articles for use in terrorism on the same date, in circumstances which “give rise to a reasonable suspicion that their possession was for a purpose connected... to the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism”.

The articles in question include a satellite navigation system, bolt cutters, a balaclava, binoculars, assorted gloves, hand held two-way radios, disguises, a head torch and plastic adhesive tape.

When this charge was put to Polean and Walsh, they again replied “guilty”.

Crown barrister Terence Mooney QC told Judge Geoffery Miller QC that the pleas “satisfied the interests of justice” and agreed to leave the remaining two counts on the books.

They were possessing explosives in suspicious circumstances, and conspiring to cause an explosion.

Karen Quinlivan, representing Walsh, said she was seeking both a pre-sentence report and a medical report ahead of sentencing.

Judge Miller remanded both men back into custody and confirmed a plea and sentence hearing will be held at the same court on September 7.