Court grants bail to suspect accused of 1990 Co Antrim bomb attack

A suspect accused in connection with a bombing attack in Northern Ireland in 1990 has appeared in court.

Eamonn Christopher O'Boyle, 53, from Co Donegal, was arrested after arriving into Belfast International Airport earlier in the week on suspicion of setting off the bomb at a garage in Co Antrim in 1990.

He was charged by investigators with Northern Ireland police's Legacy Investigation Branch with causing the explosion at French's garage in New Street, Randalstown, at around 10.45pm on 25 November 1990, and possessing explosives with intent to endanger life.

O'Boyle appeared before District Judge Nigel Broderick at Antrim Magistrates Court by video-link from police custody on Saturday morning, speaking only to confirm he understood the charges against him.

A detective chief inspector for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) told the court he could connect the man to the counts, and made a series of allegations.

The court heard O'Boyle was interviewed under caution in 1994 by the Garda in the Republic of Ireland, but made no comment.

A lawyer for the prosecution said there was "sufficient circumstantial evidence" to support a prima facie case against O'Boyle, saying: "It's a circumstantial case made up of several strands of which the forensic evidence is one."

The solicitor acting on O'Boyle's behalf, Peter Corrigan, challenged his client's connection with the case, saying there were several "deficiencies" with the evidence.

Mr Corrigan also questioned how long the forensic evidence had been stored.

He called for the case to be discontinued.

The judge was satisfied enough evidence had been presented at this stage, and granted O'Boyle bail on terms agreed by the defence and prosecution - £950 of his own money and a cash surety of £5,000.

O'Boyle will also be required to give up all travel documents and reside at his home in Gweedore, in the Republic of Ireland, and sign on at the local Garda station twice a week.

The case will return to court on 24 January.