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Keady man using recognised IRA codeword ordered man to leave country within 24 hours

Court heard he had been 'drinking with three acquaintances' and they had offered to buy him more alcohol if he made the call

A Keady man who made a threatening call claiming to be from the IRA and stating a named male had “24 hours” to leave the country has been sentenced to community service and probation.

Court heard the 33-year-old admitted the offence during interview, saying he had been “drinking with three acquaintances” and they had offered to buy him more alcohol if he made the call.

Patrick Gillen, of Bridge Street, attended for sentencing on one count of improper use of a public communications network at Armagh Magistrates’, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that on June 9, at 10.30pm, telephone operators at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh received a call which caused sufficient concern to contact police.

In this, the caller identified a man and using a recognised code word, claimed to be from the IRA and threatened that he had “24 hours to get out”.

Officers made enquiries and linked the number used to the defendant, who had used the same phone to contact police “on numerous occasions”.

They subsequently attended Gillen’s address, where he was arrested, making no reply to caution.

During interview at Lurgan Custody Suite, the defendant made full admissions to the offence.

Gillen stated that he had been “drinking with three acquaintances” and they had offered to buy him more alcohol if he made the call.

Defence barrister Seamus Lannon said: “The best point that can be made is there is no record. For him to be influenced in that way, there has to be something untoward in his thought process.”

Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer sentenced Gillen to an enhanced combination order, consisting of 80 hours community service and 12 months probation.

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