Belfast Telegraph

Spain holds IRA suspect
Police fly out to bring home wanted man

By Chris Thornton
14 October 2004

PSNI officers were preparing today to bring suspected IRA bomb plotter Michael Rogan back to Belfast seven years after he skipped bail.

Rogan, who was arrested in Tenerife on Monday, is considered by police to have been a member of the IRA's Northern Command - considered the Provos' elite unit - that bombed the Army's Northern Ireland headquarters in 1996.

He was also identified in court in 1996 as a member of Sinn Fein's international department. Sinn Fein declined to comment on that claim but called for Rogan's immediate release.

The Republic's government confirmed that he was an Irish passport holder when he was arrested, although the identity he used on the passport was not disclosed.

Spanish police said he had been living on the island for some time with a partner of UK origin.

Rogan appeared in Madrid's Criminal Court last night after being flown out of Tenerife yesterday afternoon.

He did not oppose extradition proceedings, which means he will be handed over to PSNI officers as soon as they can travel to Spain and complete paperwork.

Initial reports said Rogan was on holiday on the island, but Tenerife police said yesterday that he had been living there for at least several months.

Braulio Palomares, a spokesman for Tenerife Police, said Rogan had been arrested on information received from Ireland.

"We received information some time ago from the authorities in Ireland alerting us to the possibility that Michael Rogan was living or staying in south Tenerife, in the Arona area," he said.

"Our inquiries led us to an apartment in Arona and we set up surveillance. As a result of that surveillance we moved in to detain Rogan on Monday."

Rogan was charged with plotting to bomb Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn in 1996.

He was linked to the two Volvo cars used in the bombings that hit the Army headquarters on October 7 that year. Warrant Officer James Bradwell was killed and 30 others were injured by the attack - the first major IRA assault in Northern Ireland after they abandoned their ceasefire in February that year.

Rogan was granted bail in 1997 against police objections, but immediately left the jurisdiction.

Reports from Spain said that one of the charges on Rogan's extradition warrant also related to supplying information to terrorists, a charge he did not face in 1996.

After he left the jurisdiction, police named him as being part of a major IRA spy ring that collected information on senior police, soldiers and judges during the first ceasefire.

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