‘We must not allow marine’s actions to bring down military’s reputation’

A former soldier has said that he was “disgusted” to learn of the details of Ciaran Maxwell’s crime.

Maxwell, 31 and formerly of Larne (though latterly based in Devon), had been a Royal Marine but is now facing sentencing in a London court after being caught hoarding massive amounts of munitions in east Antrim.

Andy Allen, an ex-soldier who was MLA for East Belfast prior to the dissolution of the Assembly ahead of the coming election, said: “It’s important to remember that this one person should not be allowed to bring the great reputation and name of the Armed Forces down.

“I’m thankful he’s been caught before he was able to cause any harm to the general public, and indeed I’m confident the security forces will be doing all they can to ensure that no-one else is in this situation or this scenario.

“Some people I’ve spoken to from an Armed Forces background are angered, annoyed, disappointed, that obviously this has tarnished the reputation of the Armed Forces to some degree, this individual being a Royal Marine.

“There’s certainly an anger there among the Armed Forces community.

“As somebody who served in the Armed Forces, we serve to uphold the law and protect life – and here’s a scenario whereby somebody who’s joined the Armed Forces potentially was involved in a scenario which could take life.”

Mr Allen lost his legs whilst posted to Afghanistan with the Royal Irish Regiment, aged 19.

The Guardian newspaper last year quoted an unnamed source stating that Maxwell had also been posted to that country.

When it comes to the discoveries which led to Maxwell’s capture, two separate hauls of weapons were discovered in Carnfunnock and Capanagh parks last year.

Four barrels were unearthed at Carnfunnock in March – two barrels were empty but two contained a variety of bomb-making components, including wiring, toggle switches, circuit boards, partially constructed timer power units, ball bearings and a small quantity of explosives.

An armour-piercing improvised rocket and two anti-personnel mines were among the cache recovered at Capanagh in May, plus several pipe bombs, magazines and ammunition for an assault rifle as well as bomb component parts and command wires – also concealed in barrels in purpose-built holes in woodland.

The BBC has said that detectives traced the serial numbers on the mines across the Irish Sea to 40 Commando’s base near Taunton, Somerset.

Sammy Wilson MP said there are “questions for the military as well”.

“How easy is it to get equipment out of camps and training exercises?” he asked.

“That’s, I think, a question they have to answer.”

Roy Beggs of the UUP said: “I’d be very disappointed if there has not already been a significant review to discover how such weapons could have been removed from a military base, and I hope that lessons have been learned.”

The MoD was asked to comment on both concerns around vetting of Maxwell, and on how he obtained munitions, but said it was “inappropriate” to say much until after sentencing.

See other recent News Letter reports looking into sentencing for dissident crimes:

Trio of recent cases shows feeble punishments for dissidents

Dissident sentences ‘would have been laughed at during Troubles’

‘If dissidents faced 20 years in jail, they might think twice’


Feeble response to dissidents ‘is damaging police morale’: serving officer

On-the-run terror suspect had previously been given light jail term

McLaughlin’s previous light jail term: Prosecutors say they had no grounds to appeal it


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Articles may come from parliamentary reports, various public news feeds and Google News Search. Content is republished here for context. Copyright is respected and remains with the original author at all times. Original Article:http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/we-must-not-allow-marine-s-actions-to-bring-down-military-s-reputation-1-7811711

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Preferential voting

Commenting on preferential voting Roy Beggs, a local Ulster Unionist candidate  said, “I would ask voters to support myself and my Ulster Unionist colleague, John Stewart; then other pro-union candidates who have not been personally tainted by the RHI, NAMA and Red Sky Affairs; and then to continue to show a preference for other candidates who can help secure a stable peaceful NI with a growing economy for the benefit of all.

Sinn Fein have forced this election in an irresponsible manner without ensuring that the budget is in place for public services beyond March.  In East Antrim, with only 5 MLA’s to be elected and the increased quota requirement, the Sinn Fein seat is vulnerable if unionist turnout and vote.  I would urge unionists, nationalist and other voters by their preferential voting to ensure that both the DUP and Sinn Fein pay for their poor record in government.

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Beggs welcomes drugs removal from Carrickfergus

East Antrim Ulster Unionist Party candidate Roy Beggs has welcomed news over the weekend that drugs worth an estimated £10,000 were seized and taken off our streets by the PSNI.

Mr Beggs said “Well done first and foremost to the PSNI for the work they continue to do in the fight to eradicate drugs from our communities. Drug addiction ruins lives.  I am advised that herbal cannabis was found in addition to some class A drugs.  With class A drugs in particular, being dealt by local drug dealers we all must be concerned with the associated problem of drug progression, addiction and the crime often associated with having to fed that  addiction.  Organised crime gangs are feeding off the community.  I know that that information from the community is vital in the battle against drug mis-use If you have any information in relation to the sale of illegal drugs in our community, please give it to the PSNI, or anonymously to  Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.”

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‘We must not allow marine’s actions to bring down military’s reputation’

A former soldier has said that he was “disgusted” to learn of the details of Ciaran Maxwell’s crime.

Maxwell, 31 and formerly of Larne (though latterly based in Devon), had been a Royal Marine but is now facing sentencing in a London court after being caught hoarding massive amounts of munitions in east Antrim.

Andy Allen, an ex-soldier who was MLA for East Belfast prior to the dissolution of the Assembly ahead of the coming election, said: “It’s important to remember that this one person should not be allowed to bring the great reputation and name of the Armed Forces down.

“I’m thankful he’s been caught before he was able to cause any harm to the general public, and indeed I’m confident the security forces will be doing all they can to ensure that no-one else is in this situation or this scenario.

“Some people I’ve spoken to from an Armed Forces background are angered, annoyed, disappointed, that obviously this has tarnished the reputation of the Armed Forces to some degree, this individual being a Royal Marine.

“There’s certainly an anger there among the Armed Forces community.

“As somebody who served in the Armed Forces, we serve to uphold the law and protect life – and here’s a scenario whereby somebody who’s joined the Armed Forces potentially was involved in a scenario which could take life.”

Mr Allen lost his legs whilst posted to Afghanistan with the Royal Irish Regiment, aged 19.

The Guardian newspaper last year quoted an unnamed source stating that Maxwell had also been posted to that country.

When it comes to the discoveries which led to Maxwell’s capture, two separate hauls of weapons were discovered in Carnfunnock and Capanagh parks last year.

Four barrels were unearthed at Carnfunnock in March – two barrels were empty but two contained a variety of bomb-making components, including wiring, toggle switches, circuit boards, partially constructed timer power units, ball bearings and a small quantity of explosives.

An armour-piercing improvised rocket and two anti-personnel mines were among the cache recovered at Capanagh in May, plus several pipe bombs, magazines and ammunition for an assault rifle as well as bomb component parts and command wires – also concealed in barrels in purpose-built holes in woodland.

The BBC has said that detectives traced the serial numbers on the mines across the Irish Sea to 40 Commando’s base near Taunton, Somerset.

Sammy Wilson MP said there are “questions for the military as well”.

“How easy is it to get equipment out of camps and training exercises?” he asked.

“That’s, I think, a question they have to answer.”

Roy Beggs of the UUP said: “I’d be very disappointed if there has not already been a significant review to discover how such weapons could have been removed from a military base, and I hope that lessons have been learned.”

The MoD was asked to comment on both concerns around vetting of Maxwell, and on how he obtained munitions, but said it was “inappropriate” to say much until after sentencing.

See other recent News Letter reports looking into sentencing for dissident crimes:

Trio of recent cases shows feeble punishments for dissidents

Dissident sentences ‘would have been laughed at during Troubles’

‘If dissidents faced 20 years in jail, they might think twice’


Feeble response to dissidents ‘is damaging police morale’: serving officer

On-the-run terror suspect had previously been given light jail term

McLaughlin’s previous light jail term: Prosecutors say they had no grounds to appeal it


Parliamentary reports show first speaker only - follow this lnk for the full transcription.
Articles may come from parliamentary reports, various public news feeds and Google News Search. Content is republished here for context. Copyright is respected and remains with the original author at all times. Original Article:http://www.larnetimes.co.uk/news/we-must-not-allow-marine-s-actions-to-bring-down-military-s-reputation-1-7811711

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‘Alarm bells’ should have rung over Marine

Security “alarm bells” should have rung over the appearance of a Royal Marine in a Sinn Fein propaganda publication in the years before he joined the UK Armed Forces.

Ciaran Maxwell pleaded guilty last week to offences arising from the discovery of large quantities of munitions, found in woodland close to his home town of Larne and understood to have been intended for some kind of dissident republican purpose.

The terrorist cache discovered by police at Carnfunnock

The terrorist cache discovered by police at Carnfunnock

As widely reported when he was first named as a suspect in court last year, there is a record of him having appeared as an interviewee in An Phoblacht, a Sinn Fein-connected newsletter, back in 2002 when he was 16.

The publication said Maxwell (whose Christian name was given at the time as Kieran, not Ciaran) had recounted being beaten by a loyalist gang in the town.

The article, complete with picture of Maxwell’s injuries, went on to claim that “the UDA roam the town in gangs hunting for Catholics, while the RUC/PSNI look on”.

Last year, The Larne Times quoted an unnamed family friend as saying that Maxwell was the product of one Catholic parent and one Protestant one, and that he had been targeted by the UDA.

Barrel containing weapons which were recovered in woodland at Capanagh Forest

Barrel containing weapons which were recovered in woodland at Capanagh Forest

Roy Beggs, who was UUP MLA for the East Antrim area from which Maxwell hailed until the recent election was called, told the News Letter: “Sadly, he had suffered an attack at that time. But if everyone who’d suffered injury decided to seek vengeance, we’d have ongoing conflict, and therefore there is no excuse for his actions.

“Clearly closer scrutiny is needed, I’d say, of any illegal paramilitary links…

“Certainly if he’d been showing his allegiance by highlighting his injuries, that’d be an area of concern; that he was trying to use his injuries for political purposes, which should have highlighted concerns.

“Alarm bells should’ve been ringing when he was highlighting his injuries for political purposes.”

Sammy Wilson, DUP MP for the East Antrim, likewise said that despite the reports of a sectarian attack against Maxwell, there is “no excuse” for his later “murderous activities”.

Maxwell is now 31 and had an address near Exminster in Devon. He pleaded guilty to a trio of offences at London’s Old Bailey last Friday: cannabis possession, fraud, and preparation of terrorist acts.

This last offence carries a potential life sentence under the wording of Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

In 2014, four people pleaded guilty to the same offence in Northern Ireland, plus other serious terrorist offences, in a major case involving guns and a terrorist training ground set up in woodland in Co Tyrone.

Sentences for these four convicts ranged from just under three years in prison to an indeterminate jail term with a minimum sentence of five years in jail (see facing page for full details of their crimes).

As of yesterday morning, a date for Maxwell’s sentencing had not yet been set.

The News Letter has repeatedly carried reports in recent weeks of light sentences (sometimes involving no jail time at all) handed down for dissident activity in bomb and gun-related cases.

Two interviewees expressed the view that such punishments would have been much harsher if handed down on the UK mainland.

Mr Wilson told the News Letter: “I think that this will be a good test actually.

“Here is a case of somebody who is involved in dissident republican activity, will not be sentenced in a Northern Ireland court, will be sentenced in a court in England, and it will be very interesting to see whether there is any difference in the kind of sentence which is imposed – whether the kind of leniency we see in Northern Ireland courts will also be shown in the courts on the mainland.

“I suspect you’ll find there to be a discrepancy in the sentence; that the sentence will be much tougher in the courts in GB than it will be in Northern Ireland.

“I hope that it is, because I think it will do two things: first of all it’ll send out a clear signal to anybody who wants to engage in terrorist activity, that they do run the risk of a long time in jail.

“And secondly it’ll maybe give a clear indication that the judges – for whatever reason – [have] become blasé about dissident terrorist activity in Northern Ireland.

“If there is a discrepancy then I think the judges will have to explain why they took the same law, and they came to different conclusions.”

He added: “I think that most people now are just disgusted at the leniency of the judiciary in Northern Ireland.

“The ease with which people can get bail, and then skip bail because the police don’t even monitor them, the lightness of the sentences when they do finally get convicted.”

The MoD was asked to comment on both concerns around vetting of Maxwell, and on how he obtained munitions, but said it was “inappropriate” to say much until after sentencing.

The News Letter’s recent coverage of paramilitary sentencing has been prompted by the disappearance of Damien McLaughlin whilst on bail, charged with helping to murder a prison officer.

The 40-year-old from the Ardboe area of Co Tyrone had been caught in possession of a stash of three powerful guns in 2009, plus ammunition and other equipment.

He served a prison sentence for that, but was free again by the end of 2011.

He denies the offences he faces in relation to the murder of David Black in 2012 – but with his trial less than a fortnight away, he cannot be found.

The News Letter has repeatedly carried reports in the past two weeks showing weak sentences handed down by Northern Irish courts to people involved in dissident paramilitarism.

They include a two-and-a-half year total jail term to an unrepentant dissident caught with two different guns just one year apart, and a suspended sentence for an 18-year-old who was found to be part of a major bomb plot in Belfast.

See other recent News Letter reports looking into sentencing:

Trio of recent cases shows feeble punishments for dissidents

Dissident sentences ‘would have been laughed at during Troubles’

‘If dissidents faced 20 years in jail, they might think twice’


Feeble response to dissidents ‘is damaging police morale’: serving officer

On-the-run terror suspect had previously been given light jail term

McLaughlin’s previous light jail term: Prosecutors say they had no grounds to appeal it


Parliamentary reports show first speaker only - follow this lnk for the full transcription.
Articles may come from parliamentary reports, various public news feeds and Google News Search. Content is republished here for context. Copyright is respected and remains with the original author at all times. Original Article:http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/alarm-bells-should-have-rung-over-marine-1-7811683

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