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Thursday, 2 March, 2000, 17:35 GMT
Real IRA camp 'trainee' freed
Ten men were arrested during the underground bunker raid
Ten men were arrested during the underground bunker raid
A Dublin teenager who was caught taking part in a Real IRA training camp in County Meath has been given a seven-year suspended sentence.

Stephen Kelly, 18, of North Clarence Street, Dublin pleaded guilty to a charge under the Republic of Ireland's anti-terrorist legislation of participating in training or drilling in the use of firearms.

The offence took place at Herbertstown on 20 October last year.

A member of the Garda special detective unit which uncovered the training camp said that when they kept an underground cellar at Herbertstown House under surveillance they saw ten men going in.

When they raided the bunker ten men including the accused were arrested, he said, and an assault rifle, a sub-machinegun and a pistol laid out for instruction were seized.

'Full and frank admission'

The Garda officer said Kelly made a "full and frank" admission that he had gone to the bunker to be trained in the use of firearms.


Weapons were seized during the raid
Weapons were seized during the raid
He said Kelly admitted he had been shown how to use the assault rifle and strip it down.

The court heard that Kelly came from a good family and that he had been led by older people into taking part in the training camp as part of his induction into the dissident republican organisation.

Passing sentence Mr Justice Fredrick Morris said that the court regarded the offence as a very serious one.

But he said Kelly deserved a chance and the court had taken into account the fact that he had no previous convictions and came from a good family.

Charges against Kelly of possessing firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life were withdrawn by the state.

Eight other men charged in relation to the training camp are in custody awaiting trial.

Another person held was a 14-year-old boy.

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