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MI5 bugging Hitwoman Rose Lynch's pensioner dad convicted in sting on Continuity IRA

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Joe Lynch and his daughter Rose Lynch (inset)

Joe Lynch and his daughter Rose Lynch (inset)

Joe Lynch and his daughter Rose Lynch (inset)

THE elderly father of Continuity IRA assassin Rose Lynch is one of seven men jailed this week following a covert MI5 operation against the dissident group.

Limerick man Joe ‘Tiny’ Lynch (79), who has said he is now done with dissident republicanism, was part of the CIRA leadership who were caught in a covert MI5 bugging operation centred on a house in Newry, Co. Down, six years ago.

His daughter Rose is currently serving a life sentence in Limerick Prison after shooting dead an innocent father-of-two in Dublin who was wrongly targeted by the CIRA.

Tiny was considered the number three in the hierarchy of the CIRA leadership targeted in the MI5 operation which the PSNI described as “one of the most significant terrorism cases in recent times”.

He was sentenced to six-and-half years with three years and three month suspended.

Continuity IRA leader Patrick ‘Mooch’ Blair (64), with an address in Warrenpoint, Co. Down and his number two Liam Hannaway (50) from west Belfast, were jailed for five years each for their involvement.

Blair was previously involved in the Provisional IRA and linked to numerous gun attacks in the 1970s and 1980s. It was alleged in the Smithwick Tribunal, which investigated garda collusion in the murder of senior RUC officers in an ambush in 1989, that Blair was one of the killers.

He became a senior figure in the Real IRA after opposing the peace process and was named in the House of Commons as “having helped construct the Omagh bomb” but denied involvement.

Tiny Lynch from Ballinacurra Weston in Limerick has been a life-long republican who secured his first criminal convictions back in 1955.

He has said in the past he brought his daughter Rose up to be a militant republican from a young age.

He described her as “iconic” after she was convicted for shooting dead delivery man David Darcy in Ballyfermot in 2011.

The CIRA had claimed Darcy was shot in a revenge attack for the murder of CIRA man Liam Kenny but the Special Criminal Court was told he was an innocent man wrongly targeted.

Despite this Tiny said he was “proud” of his daughter.

Like her he will now spend the coming years behind bars.

Belfast Crown Court heard on Friday that secret recordings of Lynch and his CIRA comrades revealed various plots including a plan to target a prison governor in Co Down, plots to target specific PSNI officers, plans to steal sulphur from a Dublin factory to make explosives, plans to carry out robberies to get cash and legally-held firearms as explosives and firearms training plans.

The recordings also revealed how the CIRA bosses were frustrated at their lack of weapons, ammo, members and money.

Lynch, Blair and Hannaway all pleaded guilty to charges of belonging or professing to belong to a proscribed organisation, providing weapons and explosives training, conspiring to possess explosives, firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

John Sheehy, 36, of Erskine Street, Newry and Colin Patrick Winters, 49, of Ardcarn Park, Newry pleaded guilty to the same offences but Winters died in August before he could be sentenced.

Seamus Morgan(64) Barcroft Park, Newry; Kevin John Paul Heaney (47) Blackstaff Mews, Springfield Road in west Belfast and Terence Marks (60) Parkhead Crescent, Newry, all pleaded guilty to belonging or professing to belong to a proscribed organisation.

Marks admitted a further charge of receiving training in the making or use of explosives for terrorism.

Speaking at the sentencing Mr Justice Colton said that “all right thinking people and law abiding citizens believe that the days of shootings, killings and explosions are in the past”.

He said Blair and Hannaway posed a danger to the public in the future and neither had “disavowed their involvement in dissident republican activity.

The judge said he did not believe Lynch posed a danger to society in the future as he had cut ties with dissident republican activity with Lynch saying: “It’s all over for me.”

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