Northern Ireland

Eirigi activist Stephen Murney appears in court on terror charges

An activist for the republican party, Eirigi, has appeared in court in Newry, County Down, on terrorism charges.

Stephen Martin Murney, from Derrybeg Terrace in the city, was charged with collecting and distributing information likely to be of use to terrorists.

The 29-year-old was also charged with having articles likely to be of use to terrorists.

Mr Murney, who is a public relations officer for Eirigi in Newry, was remanded in custody until 12 December.

BB guns

A detective told the court that the accused was seen at a protest in support of dissident republican prisoners as the Olympic torch was passing through Newry in June.

The detective said Mr Murney took photographs of police officers on his mobile phone, and the photographs then appeared on his Facebook page.

The court heard that police searched the defendant's home on Thursday and found two BB guns, two black berets, three military-style jumpers and three pairs of combat trousers.

The detective said police have also seized a laptop computer which contained hundreds of photos of police officers.

But a defence lawyer said these images dated back years and that the computer did not contain photos of serving PSNI officers.

He also claimed the photos taken at the protest were for the purposes of claiming harassment.

Cheered

The lawyer said the clothes which were seized were band uniforms.

The district judge remanded the accused on the grounds there was a risk he would interfere with the police investigation.

Around 30 Eirigi supporters were in the public gallery for the hearing, including the party's general secretary Breandan Mac Cionnaith.

As he was led away, Mr Murney raised a clenched fist in the air and his supporters clapped and cheered.