Discovery of 'bomb-making factory' leads to two arrests


Dissident Republican threat - Discovery of 'bomb-making factory' leads to two arrests
28 June 2011
The Irish News
Allison Morris

The discovery of what police in Co Louth believe was a dissident bomb-making factory has led to the latest in a series of high-profile arrests linked to a paramilitary crackdown in the area.

Garda are linking Saturday's intelligence-led find to the dissident republican organisation Oglaigh na hEireann.

Two men in their fifties were arrested and were still being questioned last night in relation to dissident republican activity.

Materials including partially mixed fertiliser explosives were found in a farmhouse and shed.

Around 100kg of homemade explosives are said to have been discovered along with 120kg of unmixed ammonium nitrate which is used in the construction of bombs.

A controlled explosion was later carried out by the Irish army on a mortar said to be under construction at the site in Hackballscross.

Police have described the find as "significant".

It follows a number of previous high-profile arrests in the area.

In May last year Conan Murphy, son of veteran Co Louth republican Colm Murphy, was arrested in Dundalk in connection with a suspected bomb-making factory.

Mr Murphy (23), from the Mount Pleasant area of Dundalk, was charged with unlawfully possessing explosive materials and is due to stand trial in November at Dublin's Special Criminal Court.

Arrested alongside him was Philip McKevitt (56), also of Mount Pleasant, who faces the same charge. Both men are on continuing bail.

Colm Murphy was previously acquitted of conspiracy charges relating to the 1998 Omagh bombing, which killed 29 people including a woman pregnant with twins.

In an interview with The Irish News he claimed his son's arrest was the result of a cover-up by the authorities after the unmasking of an informer working for security forces on both sides of the border

Dermot Gregory, who also went by the name Michael Dermott, had been charged in connection with a plot to acquire guns from mainland Europe for the Real IRA.

However, Gregory turned out to be an informer working for both Britain's MI5 and the intelligence agencies in the Republic.

Then in December last year four men, including two from Co Armagh, were arrested after being stopped in a car close to the border during a sting operation carried out by the Garda Special Detective Unit and the elite armed Emergency Response Unit.

Patrick Tierney (25), of Drumarg Park, and Patrick Gordon (22), from Newtownhamilton Road, both in Armagh, were charged with unlawfully possessing a mortar and mortar launcher.

Dundalk men Dalton McKevitt (35) and Niall Farrell (34) were both charged with Real IRA membership and possessing a mortar.

An improvised mortar and launch tube, described as viable, was discovered when the car was stopped at the N1 dual carriageway just north of Dundalk in Co Louth.

At the time a Garda spokesman said he believed the mortar was being transported to Northern Ireland for use in an attack against a military target.
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