Seven men charged with the attempted murder of a senior off-duty police officer earlier this year appeared in a Northern Ireland court on Monday where they were remanded in custody. Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell was shot several times as he left a sports complex in Omagh, some 70 miles (112 kilometres) west of Belfast, with his son in February. The high-profile officer had been coaching a youth football group at the time of the attack, which was later claimed by dissident republicans. The men appeared before Dungannon Magistrates’ Court via videolink charged with attempted murder and included a father and two sons, according to Irish broadcaster RTE. Three of the men face additional terror charges, while two others have been charged with membership of the IRA, a proscribed paramilitary group. District judge Steven Keown refused three bail requests, saying the individuals posed risk of further offending and potential interference with the police investigation. All seven are next due to appear in court in Omagh by videolink on June 27. Caldwell was released from hospital in April following the shooting, which recalled some of the worst violence in the period of sectarian unrest known as “The Troubles”. Police, who remain the target of sporadic violence, were regularly targeted during the three-decade-long conflict over British rule, which claimed more than 3,000 lives and ended in 1998. In court a Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) chief detective outlined evidence including the discovery of residue from cartridges found on items, including a hat, allegedly associated with the accused. The officer also said police believe there was a “wide-ranging conspiracy” behind the attack and a “personal element”, as Caldwell had been “intimately involved” in investigations into several of the defendants. He characterised a grudge against the prominent officer, who was aware of many threats to his life over the years, as a “golden thread” linking many of the accused. In March, the UK government raised the Northern Ireland terror threat level in response to Caldwell’s shooting, citing a continuing threat of political violence. Tensions have run high in Northern Ireland since the UK’s departure from the European Union, with the province’s largest pro-UK party collapsing its power-sharing institutions over post-Brexit trading rules. The New IRA, a dissident republican splinter group, has been linked to two attacks in recent years, including the planting of a bomb under a policewoman’s car in April 2021. The group also admitted responsibility for the death of Lyra McKee, a journalist killed in April 2019 while covering clashes in the city of Londonderry, which is known to nationalists who want a united Ireland as Derry. Omagh was the scene of one of the worst incidents, when dissidents detonated a car bomb on August 15, 1998, leaving 29 dead and 220 wounded.