Bomb blunder policeman quits
Slovak minister blames 'stupid error' for explosives debacle
Published 08/01/2010 | 05:00
THE head of the border police in Slovakia has resigned as a result of the airport security blunder, which led to a passenger unwittingly bringing explosives in his luggage into Dublin.
Slovakian deputy prime minister and interior minister Robert Kalinak disclosed last night that he had accepted the resignation of Tibor Mako, whose department was in charge of the security exercise.
Mr Mako created controversy when he attempted to place the blame on Dublin Airport staff for not detecting the explosives, although Mr Kalinak had already admitted to Justice Minister Dermot Ahern that his police were responsible and he expressed his profound regret.
Last night Mr Kalinak said: "What happened at Poprad Airport was a stupid human error. "It is an individual error, not a system failure. Disciplinary proceedings against the policeman responsible are under way."
An investigation is being carried out on the orders of Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy, who appointed Det Chief Supt Martin McLoughlin to inquire into how 96 grammes of explosives were allowed onto the plane from Poprad to Dublin last Saturday and the authorities here not notified until Tuesday morning.
Mr McLoughlin and his team will travel to Slovakia and Mr Kalinak has promised that his officials will co-operate fully..
Meanwhile, the gardai last night denied fresh claims by Mr Mako that his police force had asked them to keep quiet about the incident. Gardai said the only contact prior to the discovery of the explosives in the apartment of Stefan Gonda in Dorset Street was between the Slovakian border police and police at Dublin Airport.
Gardai also defended their decision to detain Mr Gonda and said he was released as soon as they had established that he was totally innocentt.
It has been established that the Slovak border police sent a telex to Swissair, which handles baggage from the flight at Dublin, but it was not marked urgent and claimed the explosive sample was not dangerous.