Belfast Telegraph

'Naive' not to plan for attack

It would be naive not to plan for a possible dissident republican terror attack during the Queen's visit to Ireland, Northern Ireland's Chief Constable has said.

Police must also be wary that the violent extremists may attempt a symbolic strike to coincide with the royal wedding, according to Matt Baggott.

Officers are ramping up security in Northern Ireland around these key dates in a bid to thwart a headline-grabbing action by the renegades opposed to the peace process.

The Queen will arrive in the Republic of Ireland on May 17 for her historic four-day trip - the first by a British monarch in a century.

While Irish police are launching a massive security operation south of the border, in Northern Ireland officers are mindful that dissidents may launch an attack in their jurisdiction to make a political point.

Security is already tight following the murder of Catholic policeman Ronan Kerr in Omagh, Co Tyrone, almost a fortnight ago and ahead of May's Stormont Assembly elections.

"It would be naive not to prepare for key events that are coming up," said Mr Baggott. "We've got elections, we've got weddings, we've got the Olympics coming beyond that, so we are always very mindful of events."

Three men remain in police custody over the murder of Constable Kerr. It is believed the 25-year-old Gaelic football fan was targeted in a bid to dissuade Catholics from joining the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Mr Baggott noted that dissidents may also wish to mark the upcoming 30th anniversaries of IRA hunger striker deaths.

"We are very mindful there are some pretty key dates coming up," he said.

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