Two arrested in relation to Minister Simon Coveney security alert at peace event

The incident happened in Belfast in March at an event organised by the John and Pat Hume Foundation

A prominent loyalist is believed to be one of two men arrested by police investigating a hijacking and hoax bomb alert which led to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney being evacuated from a peace event in Belfast in March.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said a 46-year-old man was arrested under the Terrorism Act in the Shankill area of the city on Wednesday. Two suspected firearms were recovered and a vehicle taken away for examination.

A 51-year-old man was arrested in the Ballymena area and a van seized.

Both men are being questioned in the Serious Crime Suite in Musgrave police station in Belfast.

Mr Coveney had to leave the event organised by the John and Pat Hume Foundation in north Belfast on March 25th.

The Houben Centre on the Crumlin Road was evacuated and a funeral service at nearby Holy Cross Church was disrupted.

Police said the driver of a van was threatened by two gunmen and forced to drive a device, which he believed to be a live bomb, to the church.

One man has appeared in court charged in connection with the incident.

Freya McClements

Freya McClements

Freya McClements is Northern Editor of The Irish Times