East Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman Roy Beggs has welcomed the jail sentence of 23 years, five on licence, handed down to the former Royal Marine from Larne.
In a statement, Roy Beggs MLA said: “It is clear from the evidence presented during the trial, 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 police officers and others was disclosed. Significant terrorists deserve significant sentences.
“Twenty years on from the second IRA ceasefire, it is appalling that dissident republicans are still plotting terrorist attacks on our streets which could have killed or seriously injured police officers and members of the public.
“There is evidence that the ex-Royal Marine sourced weapons and had been planning significant attacks. It is only through the vigilance of our police and security services that murderous attacks have been foiled.
“The detailed targeting 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 ISIS terrorists. He and other terrorists should be afforded no sympathy and he deserves a long prison sentence.
“The scale of bomb making material recovered in addition to IEDs recovered across the 43 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 minimised.”
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