Two held in Ireland after suspected bomb factory raid

23rd May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Two men are being questioned by Irish police under anti-terrorism laws after a raid on a suspected dissident republican bomb-making factory, authorities said Sunday.

Saturday's raid on outbuildings at Mount Pleasant, Dundalk, south of the border with British-ruled Northern Ireland, was part of "an intensive and ongoing operation" against dissidents, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said.

Ahern, who lives close to the raided premises, said there was a "fairly major engineering operation in progress" when the police swooped.

"It was an operation designed to let off a bomb somewhere. Obviously it would be anticipated that the bomb would have been transported across the border.

"It again exemplifies the fact that this threat from the dissidents is severe," Ahern told RTE state radio.

Ahern said a forthcoming report from a paramilitary watchdog in Northern Ireland "would again indicate the threat from the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA and a number of other dissident groups".

Asked if membership of dissident groups opposed to the peace process was growing, Ahern said he thought they were growing in "capability" rather than numbers.

"The numbers are relatively small. But, as used to be said by the Provisional IRA, it only takes a few to do these awful deeds."

In a statement police said two men in their 30s and 50s are being held under the Offences Against the State laws.

They are being questioned at Drogheda police station south of Dundalk and technical experts are examining the suspected Mount Pleasant bomb factory.

© 2010 AFP

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