Wednesday 18 October 2017

Dissidents believed to be behind Phoenix Park bomb

Tom Brady Security Editor

DISSIDENT republican group, the self-styled Oglaigh na hEireann, is believed to be responsible for the milk-churn bomb found on an island in the Phoenix Park.

Anti-terrorist officers believe the bomb was hidden there in a panic as gardai carried out a major search and disrupt operation at the weekend in the wake of the discovery of a 600lb bomb packed into a van in Newry.

The Newry bomb, which was abandoned close to the Border, was bigger than the device that devastated Omagh in August 1998, killing 29 people and injuring more than 300 others.

The Phoenix Park bomb was discovered by a local man on an island in Quarry Lake, in a small wooded area off Chesterfield Avenue, on Monday night.

Gardai were alerted and called in an Army bomb-disposal unit. Ordnance officers carried out an initial check on the device.

But they decided it was too dangerous to continue with their operation until first light yesterday and in the meantime, gardai sealed off several roads through the park.

The roads remained closed throughout the morning, causing traffic congestion and delays.

The Army established that the device was viable but managed to disable it without a controlled explosion. The area was declared safe at 10.40am.

The bomb was then taken to the Defence Forces' Cathal Brugha barracks in Rathmines, before the Army handed over the component parts to the Garda Technical Bureau for detailed examination.

Gardai said its exact size had not yet been determined but confirmed that it was capable of causing casualties.

A large-scale operation was carried out by Garda Special Branch and the Emergency Response Unit in several counties between Friday and Sunday after the Newry bomb find on Thursday night.

Gardai believe that the Phoenix Park device was moved there as a result of that operation to prevent it from being detected elsewhere.

Casualties

Anti-terrorist officers confirmed last night that it was in very good condition and had not been left long on the island.

The find was made close to the government property at Farmleigh. But officers do not think it was intended for use against targets here and say it was likely to have been moved back up towards the Border after the garda operation had been scaled down again.

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the Newry or Phoenix Park bombs but police assessments on both sides of the Border indicate that Oglaigh na hEireann, a group set up by a Co Louth republican and former close associate of the jailed Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt, was responsible.

Irish Independent

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