Page last updated at 17:16 GMT, Thursday, 10 December 2009

Men guilty over 'bomb equipment'

Special Criminal Court
The men were convicted at Dublin's Special Criminal Court

A man from Belfast was one of two men convicted of possessing bomb-making equipment after Irish police raided an apartment in Dublin last year.

Detectives found both men wearing latex gloves, surrounded by gun powder, pipe bomb casings, timers and wiring, the Special Criminal Court trial heard.

Terry McConnell of Tullymore Gardens, Andersontown, Belfast, was found guilty alongside Cormac Fitzpatrick from Cathedral Walk in Monaghan.

They will be sentenced next month.

The pair were arrested at the property at The Cresent, Parkwest, Clondalkin, on 9 September 2008 after a surveillance operation by the Irish police's Special Detective Unit.

McConnell, 28, claimed he had set off from Clones at 0600 GMT that day, to view an apartment in Tallaght, and had asked 23-year-old Fitzpatrick to share the drive with him, in case he became tired on the journey.

'Beyond belief'

McConnell said he had got lost along the route and they had innocently ended in the Clondalkin property instead, where he believed he would meet a man who would help him arrange accommodation.

They said that when they got to the apartment, they were instructed to put on the gloves, which Fitzpatrick described in hindsight as "not a great move".

Both men denied the charged of unlawfully possessing explosive materials but the judges at the non-jury trial rejected their explanations.

Mr Justice Paul Butler said that Fitzpatrick's account of why he was there was "beyond belief".

The pair were remanded in custody for sentencing on 25 January.

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