Nine held in dissident probe

 

Nine men arrested yesterday as part of an ongoing garda investigation into dissident republican activity remain in custody this evening.

Six men aged between 19 and 71 years were arrested in Co Wexford following the operation. They are being held at Garda stations in Enniscorthy, New, Ross, Wexford and Thomastown, Co Kilkenny under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act 1939.

Another man (27) was arrested in Waterford and is being detained at the Garda station in Waterford city under the same legislation.

Gardaí from specialist units assisted by local gardaí from the South Eastern and Northern Regions were involved in the sweep during which arms, ammunition and suspected bomb components were also seized.

A firearm and ammunition were recovered during the search of a house in Dunleer, Co Louth, where two men (aged 20 and 33) were arrested.

Both men were detained under the provisions of Section 30 Offences Against the State Act and are being detained in Whitehall and Santry Garda stations.

Another house was sealed off in Keelogue, Barntown, Co. Wexford and a number of items which gardaí believe to be the component parts of explosive devices were recovered.

The latest security operation comes only days after it emerged that support for dissident republicans in nationalist areas has been underestimated.

Research carried out by Prof Jonathan Tonge of Liverpool, an author on Irish affairs, found that some 14 per cent of nationalists have expressed sympathy for the reasons behind dissident violence.

British authorities raised the threat level of a dissident republican terror attack from moderate to substantial, the third highest level, meaning such an event is a "strong possibility".

The move followed an MI5 assessment which found that dissidents were continually improving their capabilities and could launch attacks in Britain.