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Mobile signals can be blocked for G8 summit

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Barack Obama. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Barack Obama. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Barack Obama. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

MOBILE phone companies in the Republic could be asked to cut signals during the G8 summit amid fears terrorists may use them to detonate bombs.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter is introducing amendments to legislation amid fears that there is a "real danger" of an attack.

"It is possible that terrorist groups may try to use the occasion of the summit to, at the very least, garner publicity for themselves," Mr Shatter said.

"This is not to ignore the very real danger of the loss of life if such a device were successfully detonated."

 

Economy

Eight world leaders will jet in for next month's G8 summit in Co Fermanagh, including US president Barack Obama.

Details of First Lady Michelle Obama's travel will be announced at a later date, but she is expected to return to the Republic and visit her husband's ancestral homeland in Co Offaly.

Mr Shatter explained that the purpose of the legal amendments is to "allow for direction to issue to mobile phone service providers to cease service provision in a limited area in order to prevent death or damage to property".

His proposed amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill concern the threat to life and property posed by explosive devices that make use of mobile communications technology.

The minister told the justice committee that the G8 Summit had brought a particular necessity for this legislation.

"The provision will contain safeguards to ensure any interference with services is limited to the extent necessary to deal with the threat," he said.

Other politicians to attend will include German chancellor Angela Merkel and UK prime minister David Cameron. The G8 is expected to generate up to €47m for the local economy.

 

Liberties

Under the amendments to the legislation, a direction may be issued to mobile phone service providers to shut down services in some areas.

In March this year, a mobile phone was believed to have been used to detonate a bomb on the outskirts of Belfast.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties declined to comment on the new legislation amendments, without having seen the specific proposals.

fdillon@herald.ie


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