Ulster Unionist East Antrim MLA John Stewart has welcomed the sentencing of former Larne resident and Royal Marine Ciaran Maxell who has been found guilty of serious terrorist offences including bomb-making and storing stolen military weapons.
In a statement, John Stewart MLA said: “In many ways, this was a bizarre and highly unusual case.
“But what is crystal clear is that if Maxwell had been more successful in his parallel terrorist campaign, many many lives would have been lost.
“We know from what came out in the trial that he had made at least 14 pipe bombs, four of which had already been used in republican terrorist attacks in Northern Ireland, and that the bomb making materials which were discovered in the numerous hides he made were capable of causing massive destruction.
“It is no exaggeration to say that if the security services and police had not caught him, he could have triggered a wave of death and destruction which could have taken this society back into the worst days of the Troubles.
“People can speculate all they want about what might have motivated him to get involved with Irish republican terrorism, but what is clear is that he was responsible for his own actions. He betrayed the traditions and honour of his Regiment, and posed a highly dangerous threat to the peace and security of the United Kingdom. That being the case, I am glad that he will be going to prison for a very long time.”