Cowen condemns 'futile' Real IRA attack
TAOISEACH Brian Cowen yesterday condemned the Real IRA car bomb attack on a British army base as a "very futile act".
As the North marked the restoration of full control over its policing for the first time in almost 40 years, he said those who placed the car bomb close to the British army base at Holywood, Co Down, were "criminals" and had "mad ideas".
"It's a criminal act and we will use all the resources available on the island of Ireland to confront these people who are trying to undermine the hard work of so many people who want a future for the people in Ireland.
"These people who engage in this activity -- no mandate, criminals and they will be dealt with accordingly."
It comes after dissident republicans last month successfully detonated their first car bomb in nearly a decade, causing minor damage to properties beside the heavily fortified courthouse in Newry.
Mr Cowen said the close levels of co-operation between the gardai and the Police Service of Northern Ireland would continue to counter threats from dissident republicans.
"There's already top-class co-operation," he said. "As you know, the new Chief Constable and the Garda Commissioner have been able to confirm that for a long time now and, but for that co-operation, we wouldn't have been able to thwart some other mad ideas that some of these people have about trying to cause mayhem and put life and property at risk."
It came as David Ford, the leader of the cross-community Alliance party, was elected justice minister thanks to support from Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the election of a justice minister after years of negotiations would narrow the ground in which dissidents could operate.