Bomb factory pair are the final convicts of historic Green Street criminal court
TWO men, who were found guilty by the Special Criminal Court of having bomb-making equipment at a Dublin apartment last year, are the last people to be convicted at the Green Street courthouse in Dublin.
The three-judge non-jury court is due to move to the new Criminal Courts of Justice at Parkgate St next month after sitting for almost 38 years at the historic Green Street court.
The court was opened in January 1797 and among its first trials were leaders of the United Irishmen for high treason in 1798 and Robert Emmet, who made his famous speech from the dock before his execution in 1803.
The Special Criminal Court which was set up in May 1972 because of the northern troubles has sat since then in Green Street. The court has convicted thousands of Provisional IRA, INLA, Real IRA and Continuity IRA members as well as members of criminal gangs associated with Martin Cahill (The General) and John Gilligan.
Cormac Fitzpatrick (23) of Cathedral Walk, Monaghan, Co Monaghan and Terry McConnell (28) of Tullymore Gardens, Andersontown, Belfast, were found guilty of unlawfully possessing explosive materials at an apartment in The Crescent, Park West Pointe, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, on September 9, 2008.
The 13-day trial heard how enough explosive material, to fully construct four pipe bombs, was discovered when members of the Special Detective Unit raided the one-bedroom flat in the early hours of September 9, 2008.
Among the bomb-making paraphernalia found in the kitchen were four black pieces of steel piping, nails, bulbs, batteries, surgical gloves and hundreds of grams of propellant powder.
The trial heard how, moments after armed detectives forced their way into the apartment, two men were observed standing in the bathroom, wearing latex gloves.
They were identified to the court as the two accused, Cormac Fitzpatrick and Terry McConnell.
Also found in the bathroom was a clock with wiring coming from it, two batteries and a plate containing an explosive substance that had been partially scorched or burnt. Gardai described how Fitzpatrick was observed raising his hands in the air and dropping a clock and a battery to the floor.
On the 11th day of the trial, McConnell, a former fruit and vegetable salesman, told the court that he had travelled to Dublin on the evening of September 8, 2008 in a bid to organise accommodation for a friend. He said he asked Cormac Fitzpatrick to "go for the spin" with him in case he got tired.
McConnell described how after getting lost en route, they were brought to an apartment where he believed he would meet the man who was helping him to source accommodation.
The young Belfast man said that once there, he and Mr Fitzpatrick were instructed to put on Latex gloves.
His co-accused Cormac Fitzpatrick, a former apprentice electrician, said he did not recall seeing any material in the living room.
Fitzpatrick said he was "uneasy and anxious" at being told to put on latex gloves.
Delivering its guilty verdict , Mr Justice Paul Butler presiding, rejected McConnell's "innocent explanation" for being at the flat and held that Fitzpatrick's account of why he was there was "beyond belief".
Both men were remanded in custody for sentencing on January 25.