A Derry man who a police officer described as ‘a high ranking member of the IRA’ was refused bail today at the local Magistrate’s Court.
Thomas Ashe Mellon (38) of 36 Rathmore Road in Derry is charged with directing the activities of the IRA on a date unknown and June 5 this year.
He is also charged with membership of that organisation on the same time period.
A police officer opposed bail outlining how a letter was intercepted going into Maghaberry Prison which police believe was written by Mellon.
The detective told the court today that recent tests had revealed there was a forensic link between the letter and Mellon and therefore police said he was the author of the communication.
She said the letter had been going to a dissident republican prisoner when it was intercepted.
The officer told the court: “The police believe Mellon is a high ranking member of the IRA who directs terrorism and who is still heavily involved in dissident republican activity. “We believe that if released on bail he would carry out attacks against the police , against members of the public and against commercial property.”
She also said that police did not believe Mellon would turn up for trial as he was facing ‘a significant custodial sentence.’ The officer then added: “Our inquiries into this case are continuing but in the interests of national security I cannot elaborate on that.”
Defence solicitor Mr. Paddy MacDermott said that it would be some time before his client’s case would come to trial. Bail was refused on the grounds that there was a risk of re-offending.