High Court bail for New IRA accused

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Three men accused of wearing paramilitary-style clothing at the funeral of a murdered dissident republican have been granted High Court bail.

Conor Metcalfe, John Christie and Patrick Lavin are to be released from custody on condition they keep out of Strabane. They were detained following the funeral of Michael Barr (34) in the town last Thursday.

Mr Barr was shot dead in a Dublin pub on April 25. His killing was linked to a bitter feud between warring gangland bosses.

Metcalfe, 25, of Monasteoy Park in Dublin, Christie, 52, from Ratoath, Co Meath, and Lavin, 52, of Deansrath in Dublin, are jointly charged with wearing clothing in a way to arouse suspicions they were members or supporters of a proscribed organisation.

Hundreds of mourners had attended the murder victim’s funeral Mass. A number dressed in paramilitary-style uniform were seen flanking the cortege on its way to the church and 15 men were arrested after the service and questioned about alleged membership a dissident republican group the ‘New IRA’.

Police released 12 of them, pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

At a previous hearing bail was opposed due to tensions in areas including Strabane and Londonderry, as well as fears Metcalfe, Christie and Lavin would fail to appear in future.

It was confirmed today that Lord Justice Gillen granted their applications for release from custody.

All three accused are to provide sureties and abide by a prohibition on entering the town of Strabane, the Courts Service said.