Loyalist attack on bar shocks Dublin: Security review follows weekend murder in the Irish capital. David McKittrick reports

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The Independent Online
THE LOYALIST attack in Dublin on Saturday night which killed one man and almost blew up a bar packed with republican sympathisers has sent shockwaves through the Irish capital.

The spillover of violence from the north has led to one of the city's biggest police investigations together with a security review to guard against more attacks.

Responsiblity for the attack was claimed in Belfast yesterday by the Ulster Volunteer Force. The illegal group said it intended to 'warn the IRA and the Dublin government that the Ulster people will neither be coerced or persuaded and will remain masters of their own destiny'.

A fundraising event for republican prisoners was under way at the Widow Scallan's pub close to Dublin city centre when two men tried to enter just before closing time. The bar was packed with people attending the event and watching a boxing match on television.

Michael Doherty, 35, who was on the door, was shot four times and fatally wounded when he refused them entry. Another man was shot in the neck and was yesterday in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

The two gunmen fled leaving a holdall at the scene. A short time later a minor explosion took place as a detonator went off, but it failed to set off a large bomb. The device contained 16lb to 18lb of commercial explosives, which would have been enough to wreck the bar and cause multiple casualties. Loyalist groups have long been short of commercial explosives, so the fact they have apparently obtained a new supply will be of great concern to security forces on both sides of the border. For some years loyalist bombings have been mostly small-scale, using hand-grenades or gunpowder.

A car which is believed to have been used in the attack was found on fire a short time later in another part of Dublin. It is thought to have been bought in Lisburn, Co Antrim, on Friday.

About 80 deaths linked to the troubles have taken place south of the border since 1969, with loyalist groups responsible for about 45 of these. Loyalist shooting incidents in the republic are rare, the extreme Protestants preferring to use bombs which give them more time to make good their escape.

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