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Dublin: 22 °C Tuesday 23 July, 2019
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Dissident republican caught at Busaras with "four blocks of TNT" and detonators

The incident last June saw Busaras evacuated the Special Criminal Court heard yesterday.

SCC W Murphy 1 Source: William Murphy

DUBLIN’S MAIN BUS station, Busaras, had to be evacuated after a dissident republican was caught on board a service to Derry with 1.6 kilos of high-grade explosives and three detonators, a court was told yesterday.

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

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

At the Special Criminal Court yesterday, Detective Sergeant Padraig Boyce from the SDU told how Brennan had been under surveillance “as part of an on-going 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.

The taxi took the accused to the bus station in Dublin’s city centre, where he waited for around fifty 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 under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act aboard the bus by three SDU officers.

Boyce told prosecution counsel Ronan Kennedy that gardai 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.”

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

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, Boyce added.

Car bombs

Boyce told Kennedy that he believed the quantity of explosives could have been used in the construction of “six to eight” separate car bombs.

He said: “From devices that have been recovered intact, 200 grams (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.

On hearing Boyce’s evidence, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said that he would have “breathed a sigh of relief” if he had been told he had been travelling on a bus that had four blocks of TNT on board.

Diarmaid McGuinness SC, defending, said his client was a diabetic who, because of his medical condition, was also registered blind.

McGuinness said he hoped the court would take into account the guilty plea when sentencing although his client – who has 13 previous convictions, mostly for road traffic offences – had accepted that any sentence imposed by the court “will likely be severe”.

Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, with Judge John O’Hagan and Judge Anne Ryan, remanded Brennan in custody until 6 February.

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