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Thursday 19 September 2019

Feud victim's pal quizzed over New IRA plot to kill PSNI officer

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Ken Foy

Two men arrested in connection with placing a bomb under a PSNI officer's car are from north Dublin and have links to the capital's gangland scene.

Members of the Special Detective Unit made the arrests yesterday morning and armed officers detained a 49-year-old man who lives in Ballymun and another criminal, aged in his 40s, who has an address in Finglas.

The Ballymun man was very closely associated with Michael Barr, the dissident republican who was shot dead in the Sunset House Pub in 2016 as part of the deadly Kinahan/Hutch feud which has claimed 18 lives.

It can also be revealed the detained Finglas man was previously linked to the gang which was led by slain crimelord Eamon 'The Don' Dunne, who was shot dead in a Cabra pub in 2010.

"The Finglas criminal has been the subject of a number of Garda investigations into stolen cars and he is also involved in a dodgy car business.

"Both men would be known to associate with dissidents in Dublin and the North as well as other criminal elements and yesterday's arrests followed a detailed surveillance operation by the SDU," a senior source told the Irish Independent.

A Garda statement said: "The arrests are linked to enquiries being carried out by An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland into the discovery of an under vehicle explosive device at Shandon Park Golf Club, Belfast, on June 1, 2019."

A bomb was found under the car of a serving police officer at the golf club in east Belfast. The device was declared to be a "viable improvised explosive device".

The murder attempt happened a short distance from the PSNI headquarters.

Dissident republican group the New IRA claimed responsibility for the attack at the time. A tournament which was being held at the golf club was cancelled.

Last month, five people - four men and a woman - aged between 21 and 50 were arrested by PSNI officers investigating the case. All were later released without charge.

As part of a number of searches in the North, police seized drugs as well as cash and electronic devices.

At the time Detective Inspector Anthony Kelly of the PSNI said: "It is very fortunate that this device was detected before it exploded and that no one was killed or seriously injured.

"It was clearly intended to kill the police officer."

Irish Independent

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