The application to vary Carl Reilly's curfew from 9pm to midnight was made at Belfast Crown Court today, with Judge Desmond Marrinan noting the "extraordinarily long time" that the accused has been on bail.
Reilly (46), from Pollard Close in Belfast, faces two charges arising from a secret recording of a conversation alleged to have taken place in the Carrickdale Hotel in Co Louth in February 2015.
The charges, which he denies, include directing terrorism and belonging to a proscribed organisation, namely the Irish Republican Army, between January 2014 and October 2015.
Defence barrister Michael Ford told the judge that the application to extend the curfew was "not just for the Christmas period, but going forward”.
He pointed out that Mr Reilly had spent 21 months in custody and has been on bail for five-and-a-half years awaiting trial.
Judge Marrinan replied that "even by modern standards, that's quite extraordinary”.
Mr Ford said the variation would allow Reilly to spend time with his mother and see family and friends on a social basis. He accepted that there have been bail breaches in the past, but claimed these were minor, adding "in the last 12 months he has abided by all conditions”.
A prosecutor said the variation was opposed as the current conditions of the curfew were "necessary and proportionate to deal with the risks he poses”.
Judge Marrinan was informed that several trial dates have been set, but the non-jury hearings didn't go ahead due to various legal applications, and that a ruling on a defence application is due to be given on January 9.
After considering submissions, the judge said: "This is an unusual case as this defendant has been on bail for an extraordinarily long time, one of the longest I have ever come across."
He agreed that he was prepared to partially endorse the application and extended the curfew from 9pm to 10.30pm over the period from December 24 to January 1.
After this, it will revert back to 9pm, but the judge said it could be reviewed again when a ruling on the case is given next month.