Belfast Telegraph

Gardai seize 10kg of plastic explosives in dissident raids

By Tom Brady

Gardai have seized a significant haul of plastic explosives after officers mounted citywide searches across Dublin as part of a concerted drive against suspected members of the 'New IRA' alliance.

The find was made yesterday afternoon and gardai called in an Army bomb disposal team to examine the haul.

Gardai said last night that, subject to analysis, the haul appeared to contain more than 10kg of high-grade explosive.

"If laboratory tests confirm what we believe, this find could have wreaked havoc and destruction in the hands of the terrorists," one officer said last night.

Gardai said the seizure had dealt a body blow to the renegade republicans.

The searches were part of a follow-up investigation into the discovery of a pipebomb depot in Cloghran on the northside of the capital and an alleged terror summit involving suspected key dissidents in the group's Dublin "brigade" structure.

The fresh find was made during renewed searches of property near the old airport road in Cloghran where gardai on Wednesday had discovered component parts for eight pipebombs. A suspected member of the New IRA alliance, who was detained after the initial find in Cloghran, was still in custody last night at Ballymun garda station.

The 46-year-old man was being held under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act. He can be kept in custody without charge for up to three days.

The "summit" was disrupted when armed detectives from the garda's emergency response unit burst into a house at Glenshane Crescent in Tallaght on Wednesday night.

Eight men, who were arrested there, were also being questioned by gardai last night in a number of stations on the southside of the city.

The homes of the nine suspects were among those searched yesterday as the Garda Special Branch swooped on houses and premises on both sides of the capital.

A detailed forensic search was also carried out at the Tallaght house where the arrests were made.

Gardai believe the Cloghran premises was being used as a storehouse for explosives and pipebombs, which were intended for use in a fresh campaign of violence by the New IRA alliance.

Officers understand that the Tallaght summit had been called by the alliance's Dublin leader to plan punishment shootings and beatings of former associates, who were pushed out after the fatal shooting of Real IRA leader Alan Ryan last September.

Police on both sides of the border regard the New IRA alliance as posing the biggest terrorist threat on the island.

But its attempts to set up a major organisation have been thwarted as a result of intelligence gathering.

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