Fennell in court after Easter Rising speech

Supporters of Dee Fennell outside Craigavon Court on Tuesday
Supporters of Dee Fennell outside Craigavon Court on Tuesday
  • Fennell charged with encouraging terrorism
  • 33-year-old also accused of inviting support for a proscribed organisation
  • Significant police presence both inside and outside the court
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High profile republican Damien ‘Dee’ Fennell has been remanded in custody after appearing at Craigavon Magistrates Court charged with encouraging terrorism.

The 33-year-old from Duneden Park in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast, is also accused of inviting support for a proscribed organisation.

arrest

arrest

The charges are connected to a speech he gave during a 1916 commemoration event at St Colman’s Cemetery in Lurgan on Easter Sunday.

In the address, which was recorded and posted online, Fennell described armed struggle against British rule as “legitimate”.

There was a significant police presence both inside and outside as Fennell, who was wearing a grey hooded top and navy shorts, was taken in to the dock.

He stood with his arms folded and spoke twice to confirm his identity and that he understood the charges against him.

Fennell, who is also a spokesman for the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective which opposes Orange Order marches and Sinn Fein, appeared relaxed and waved at a crowd of about 40 supporters who had packed the public gallery for the brief hearing.

A PSNI detective sergeant told the court he believed he could connect the accused to the charges.

Defence solicitor Peter Corrigan said there was no application for bail but that one would be made at a later date. He also claimed his client was in receipt of state benefits and made an application for legal aid.

Remanding Fennell into custody District Judge Mervyn Bates said: “You are remanded by this court, there being no application for bail.”

The crowd of supporters, who had refused to stand as the judge entered the courtroom, was ordered to be silent after they erupted into applause and cheers as Fennell was taken out of the courtroom.

One man shouted “All right Dee.” Outside they unfurled a banner reading End British Internment. Fennell is due to appear in court again via videolink on May 1.