Ulster Peace: Explosives seized in Dublin

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The Independent Online
A haul of one and a half tonnes of home-made explosives seized in Dublin may have been intended for bomb attacks in Britain or Northern Ireland, Irish police suggested yesterday.

Four people were arrested and gardai believe one of them is connected with a recently-formed dissident republican group, the 32 County Sovereignty Committee, headed by Bernadette Sands McKevitt, sister of the dead hunger striker Bobby Sands, in opposition to the peace talks.

The swoop followed intelligence reports and a surveillance operation by Garda special branch and anti-terrorist units and came the day after the Army defused a 500lb car bomb in Banbridge, Co Down.

In the past, home-made fertiliser bombs have been the province of the breakaway republican group, the Continuity Army Council.

The seizure came as Mo Mowlam, the Northern Ireland Secretary, prepared to meet prisoners at the Maze prison today and as police swooped in connection with a series of terrorist incidents.

In Dublin, Brendan McFarlane appeared at the Special Criminal Court charged with the 1983 kidnapping of Don Tidey, the then-head of Quinnsworth, Ireland's largest supermarket group. McFarlane, 47, from Belfast, a former leader of hunger-striking IRA prisoners, was accused of falsely imprisonment and unlawful possession of arms with intent to endanger life. Sinn Fein vice-president Pat Doherty called the decision to charge him "deeply unhelpful at this very difficult time".

In Belfast, a number of people were arrested in the loyalist Shankill Road area. It was thought they were being questioned about the murder of Catholic Edmund Treanor in a pub on New Year's Eve.