Irish police foiled dissident bomb attack says Ahern

Image caption,
A Garda officer and forensic officer at the scene of the bomb find

Irish police have foiled a dissident bomb attack in Northern Ireland, Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern has said.

Mr Ahern said lives had been saved after a suspected bomb making factory was discovered close to the border in the Republic of Ireland.

Armed officers raided a house and outbuildings at Old Newry Road, Dundalk, County Louth, at about 1900 BST on Saturday.

Gardai found a trailer and two gas cylinders being modified for a bomb.

Two men - one in his 30s, the other in his 50s - have been arrested and are being questioned about the find.

It is thought the trailer was bound for a target across the border which is just two miles away along the road.

The area remained sealed-off as forensic experts resumed their examination of the scene on Sunday morning.

Image caption,
Gardai raided an outbuilding near the border

Mr Ahern commended the Garda on the operation and said co-operation between police north and south of the border had never been better.

"It was an operation designed to set off a bomb somewhere," Mr Ahern said.

"Obviously, it would have been anticipated that the bomb would have been transported across the border. I think it again exemplifies the fact that this threat from dissidents is severe."

Mr Ahern said police on both sides of the border would be given all the resources they needed to tackle dissident activity.

The independent monitoring commission is due to report this week and is expected to reinforce the view that the threat level remains severe.