Two men jailed over plot to bomb Derry hotel

The bomb was planted at the Waterfoot Hotel ahead of a PSNI recruitment event

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File photo. Image: PA Images

Two men from County Meath have been jailed for five years for planting a bomb at a Derry hotel in 2015.

Darren Poleon, 43, and Brian Walsh, 35, from Culmullen, Dunshaughlin, both pleaded guilty earlier this year to possession of explosives with intent to endanger life.

The bomb was planted at the Waterfoot Hotel ahead of a PSNI recruitment event which was due to take place three days later.

Detective Chief Inspector Gillian Kearney said police believe the men were en route to the scene at the time of their arrests:

“They left this device sitting at a disabled parking spot and I believe as the event was to take place, they would have moved that device closer in to the hotel,” she said.

“It was to be remotely detonated then and would have detonated within the hotel causing significant harm if not killing anyone who came into contact with it.”

Fire extinguisher which was filled with 1.5kg of explosives. Image: PSNI

Today at Laganside Crown Court in Belfast the men each received a 10 year sentence - half of which will be spent in prison. 

PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Kearney said the men’s intention was “undoubtedly to murder and seriously injure people - as well as to deter people from pursuing a career in policing.”

“They had no regard for the safety of anyone staying in or visiting this popular hotel,” she said.

The bomb was constructed from a fire extinguisher filled with 1.5kg of explosive and was discovered alongside a detonating system.

Detonating system. Image: PSNI

“I am pleased that the threat posed by these two dangerous individuals has been removed and they are now in prison,” said PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Kearney.

“This investigation highlights the determination of our officers to keep people safe and we would ask communities to help us by providing police with any information they have about terrorist or criminal activity."

Poleon and Walsh each received a sentence of five years in custody and five years on licence for possession of explosives with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property and four years imprisonment for possession of articles for use in terrorism.

The sentences will run concurrently meaning the men will spend five years in prison.