Northern Ireland

Prominent republicans Duffy and McCrory released on bail after two years

Prominent republicans Colin Duffy (far right) and Alex McCrory leaving Laganside Courts in Belfast Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Prominent republicans Colin Duffy (far right) and Alex McCrory leaving Laganside Courts in Belfast

Two prominent dissident republicans facing a variety of charges, including attempting to murder police officers, have been released on bail after spending more than two years in prison.

Colin Duffy, from Lurgan, and Alex McCrory, from west Belfast, have been awaiting trial since 2013.

The pair were released on Thursday afternoon.

Judge Fiona Bagnall agreed to release them on bail on the grounds of undue delay in bringing the case to trial.

Their bail conditions included sureties of £10,000 in cash each, a ban on associating with each other, and a curfew from 8pm to 7am.

Another dissident republican who was facing similar charges, 47-year-old west Belfast man Harry Fitzsimons, was released on bail last week.

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Colin Duffy is also charged with directing terrorism

The three men are charged with conspiracy to murder members of the PSNI, possession of firearms and explosives, and membership of a proscribed organisation - the IRA.

Colin Duffy is also charged with directing terrorism.

The alleged offences are connected to a gun attack on a police convoy in north Belfast in December 2013.

After their release, a spokeswoman for the Irish Republican Prisoners' Welfare Association criticised the length of time they have been held on remand.

"This is a clear case of internment by remand," said Mandy Duffy.

"These men have been held on remand for 10 times the recommended limit. It is a disgrace and a lack of due process."

Colin Duffy, Alex McCrory and Harry Fitzsimons will appear in court again on Tuesday for the continuation of a hearing to decide whether there is sufficient evidence for them to stand trial.

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