East Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman Roy Beggs has spoken of his shock at the extent of the list of terrorist activity which has been made public prior to sentencing of the former Larne man Ciaran Maxwell, the ex-Royal Marine who has pleaded guilty to charges relating to terrorism, fraud and drugs offences.
Roy Beggs MLA said “It is clear from the list of evidence presented prior to sentencing, that Ciaran Maxwell had the means and intent to kill or seriously injure a wide range of people. As well as uncovering an extensive arsenal of weaponry, evidence of his planning and targeting of security officers and other properties has been disclosed. Significant terrorists deserve a significant sentence.”
Files in Ciaran Maxwell’s possession included names and contact details of PSNI officers and a police/MI5 officer in the UK. Satellite map images of power stations in Northern Ireland were uncovered. Larne police station had a ‘blast radius put on top’ of the maps which were found on Maxwell’s media devices. Other recovered street maps include military barracks, a Council building and an Orange Hall as well as details of HMRC offices, the Northern Ireland Office in Westminster and the National Crime Agency’s London HQ.
Mr Beggs MLA said “20 years on from the 2nd IRA ceasefire, it is regrettable that dissident republicans are still plotting terrorist attacks on our streets which could have killed or seriouly injured police officers. There is evidence that the ex-Royal Marine played a significant role in sourcing weapons and had been planning significant attacks. It is only through the vigilence of the public and our police services that murderous attacks have been foiled.”
Maxwell has also pleaded guilty to fraud and drug offences. The former Royal Marine, made 14 pipe bombs, 4 of which were thrown on the streets of Northern Ireland.
The Ulster Unionist MLA said, “the detailed targeting information of individual officers and the manufacturing of pipe bombs which were actually used show that he presented a considerable danger the life of citizens. The actions of dissident republicans like Ciaran Maxwell should be treated in a similar way to the present day ISIS terrorists. He and other terorists should be afforded no sympathy and I hope that he is sentenced to a long prison sentence.”
In conclusion, Roy Beggs said “The scale of bomb making material recovered in addition to IEDs recovered across the 13 hides in England and Northern Ireland also raise worrying questions. How was he able to remove weapons from his Royal Marine Base? Were there any signs of his terrorist linkages which were missed? How was he able to transport the weaponry across the Irish Sea? Hopefully as a result of this case, lessons will have been learned and the chances of a repeat occurrence is minimised.”