Top IRA dissident gets 20-year prison sentence for trying to buy weapons from British agentsBy AP
Friday, October 1, 2010
Top IRA dissident sentenced for trying to buy arms
BELFAST, Northern Ireland — A self-described senior Irish Republican Army dissident has received a 20-year prison sentence for trying to buy guns, explosives and other weapons from undercover British agents.
The case against 43-year-old Paul McCaugherty featured testimony from two agents from the MI5 spy agency who posed as Middle Eastern arms dealers. Belfast Justice Anthony Hart convicted McCaugherty in June of attempted arms smuggling and imposed sentence Friday.
The agents repeatedly met McCaugherty from 2004 to 2006. They audiotaped him describing himself as deputy commander of the Real IRA splinter group, and asking for armor-piercing weapons, plastic explosive and sniper rifles.
Hart said McCaugherty hoped to promote “murder and destruction on a large scale.”