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Gardai foil dissident gang’s plot to disrupt Queen’s visit

Police in the Republic foiled a terrorist plan to severely disrupt the Queen’s visit to Co Kildare yesterday.

Intelligence gathered by Irish Special Branch indicated that Real IRA supporters were plotting chaos by claiming to have left a car bomb along the Queen's route.

The gang stole a car from west Dublin, which they intended to abandon, and then make an anonymous telephone call suggesting that it contained a bomb.

Gardai believe the intention was massive disruption rather than to set off a device.

Armed members of the Emergency Response Unit intercepted the car at 2am in Clane, Co Kildare, and arrested a well-known Real IRA sympathiser. The 32-year-old suspect was detained under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.

Shortly after 10am, detectives swooped again in Robertstown, Co Kildare, and arrested the 31-year-old brother of the first suspect and a 26-year-old man.

Meanwhile, 12 protesters were arrested by officers at Connolly rail station in Dublin last night.

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They were part of a 32 County Sovereignty Movement group, which had planned to march to the Convention Centre where the Queen was visiting last night.

The 11 men and one woman appeared before a special sitting of Cloverhill District Court in Dublin last night.

Later yesterday, several hundred people lined the route to give a warm welcome to the Queen as she wound her way across the plains of Co Kildare.

Gardai formed frontline security, manning barriers, sealing off streets and roads and carrying out spot checks. The Irish army deployed 300 troops along the route from the National Stud in Kildare town to Gilltown.

The Ranger Wing stood by with helicopters, while the Air Corps and army provided top cover protection, with fixed-wing craft and helicopters.

Light tactical armoured vehicles, fitted with surveillance equipment and a radar system, were in action as part of the €4m (£3m) air defence umbrella.

But there were no protesters, apart from a group of 25 members of Republican Sinn Fein, who selected the Market Square in Kildare town to stage their protest.

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