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Man found with explosives on bus in Dublin is jailed for 7 years

Patrick Brennan pleaded guilty to possessing four blocks of TNT and explosive detonators.

Updated at 5.20pm to include images

A DUBLIN MAN who was arrested trying to transport 1.6 kilos of high-grade explosives and three detonators on the Bus Eireann bus to Derry has been jailed for seven years by the Special Criminal Court.

The court heard that Busaras had to be evacuated after Special Branch detectives intercepted Patrick Brennan on board the bus.

Brennan (53) was arrested last June by officers from the Special Detective Unit (SDU) at Busaras, in Store Street, in central Dublin, following a tip-off.

Brennan, of Lindisfarne Avenue, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, pleaded guilty to possessing four 400-gramme blocks of TNT and three electric explosive detonators on June 16, 2016.

Under surveillance

Detective Sergeant Padraig Boyce, SDU, told the court that Brennan had been under surveillance “as part of an ongoing investigation” into the activities of IRA members in the Dublin area. Boyce said that on the day of the arrest, the married father of six was observed leaving his house at around 4.50am before immediately getting into a taxi.

B1 Source: Garda Press Office

The taxi took the accused to the bus station in Dublin’s city centre, where he waited for around 50 minutes before boarding the Bus Eireann 5.55am service to Derry, the three-judge court was told.

At all times, Brennan had a blue canvas bag in his possession and this bag was placed in the seat next to him when he was arrested aboard the bus by three SDU officers.

Detective Sergeant Boyce told prosecution counsel Ronan Kennedy that gardaí had made a “significant discovery” after Brennan was detained.

He said: “In the base of the bag there was four blocks of Trinitrotoluene, commonly known as TNT and three electronic detonators in good condition strapped to the TNT.”

B5 Source: Garda Press Office

On discovery of the explosives, “the surrounding area was evacuated and the army was called”, Detective Sergeant Boyce said.

Sole passenger

Brennan, who had been jailed for four years in 2005 for IRA membership, was the sole passenger on the bus at the time of his arrest, Detective Sergeant Boyce added. He said that he believed the quantity of explosives could have been used in the construction of “six to eight” separate car bombs.

B6 Source: Garda Press Office

He said: “From devices that have been recovered intact, 200 grammes (of explosives) have been used.”

And although the explosives weren’t armed, Boyce said the TNT had been “lethally packaged” and could have been detonated by a “static charge” whilst being moved.

Sentencing him to seven years imprisonment backdated to last June, Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, said that while Brennan’s role was confined to transportation, acting as a willing courier was the same as taking part in terrorist activities.

The judge said that the court was prepared to suspend the final two years of the sentence if Brennan gave an undertaking not to associate with members of unlawful organisations.

However, after a brief consultation, Brennan’s counsel Diarmaid Mac Guinness SC said that his client was not in a position to give such an undertaking and the court imposed the full seven-year prison sentence.

Dissident republican caught at Busaras with “four blocks of TNT” and detonators>

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Diarmaid Mac Dermott

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