Leading Loyalist Remanded In Custody After Appearing In Court Charged With Possession Of A Firearm And Ammunition In Suspicious Circumstances

A leading loyalist has been remanded in custody after he appeared in court charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition in suspicious circumstances.

46 year old Winston Irvine from Ballysillan in North Belfast, was denied bail by a judge at Belfast Magistrates Court.

Police said he was arrested on Wednesday by officers who were investigating a security alert that led to Foreign Affairs minister Simon Coveney being evacuated from a peace event.

The court heard a bag containing weapons and ammunition was found in a holdall in the boot of Mr Irvine’s car during a police search.

Mr Irvine told officers he could not account for the bag in his boot which contained the holdall.

Counsel for Mr Irvine, Joe Brolly, told the court Mr Irvine had been instrumental in helping to bring about the decommissioning of UVF weapons in 2009.

He said Mr Irvine had been due to graduate with a Master’s degree in International Peace Building from Maynooth University today.

Mr Irvine was remanded in custody to appear in court again on July first.

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