Budget will not affect fight against dissidents

GARDA efforts to thwart the rising threat posed by dissident paramilitaries will not be affected by cuts in the next budget, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern has said.

He said two significant seizures of explosives and arms in recent days were a reminder to all, including his Cabinet colleagues, of the danger posed by republican terror groups.

He said the ongoing successes of the Gardaí against the various organisations would not be affected by cuts in the budget.

“There’ll be no taking the foot off the pedal in relation to the resources the guards require for the paramilitary danger in this country and the Cabinet is absolutely adamant [about that],” he said yesterday. “Obviously we are in a situation where there is less resources, but I briefed the Cabinet yesterday into the fairly significant find over the last couple of days. Again it’s a reminder, even to my cabinet colleagues... of the significance of these people and the determination of these people to drag us all back down into the dark ages.”

Mr Ahern said the paramilitaries “only have to be lucky once” to inflict casualties. He said the cache of arms and various explosive devices recovered by Gardaí “demonstrably” show the threat posed by these groups.

Gardaí found three kilos of TNT explosive, a large quantity of black powder and more than a dozen fully assembled detonators from an underground hide at Barmeath Woods, outside Dunleer, Co Louth on Monday. They also found a machine gun, a sawn-off shotgun, ammunition and a pipe bomb.

An improvised mortar bomb was so volatile that it could not be removed for analysis and had to be destroyed by the Army bomb disposal team.

Gardaí suspect the haul belonged to one of two factions of the Real IRA.

The haul followed last Friday’s discovery of a Real IRA bomb component factory in Wexford.

A total of 10 people were arrested — two in Louth, one in Waterford and seven in Wexford. Two were charged, while the remainder were released pending further investigation.

Commenting on a separate issue, Mr Ahern said “lessons would be learned” from new research into the experiences of the gardaí and the courts system by victims of crime.

The research by the Government-appointed Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime said many victims were being victimised a second time due to their experiences with Gardaí and the courts system.


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