09 June 2005

Irish Independent

Suspected RIRA men 'on way to carry out a hiding' held by gardai

TWO suspected members of the Real IRA were in Garda custody last night after a handgun was found hidden in a car.

Senior gardai believe the suspects were part of a six-strong group on their way to hand out a "hiding" to a former associate linked to a rival dissident group.

The Real IRA has been riven with faction fighting since the split between its former chief of staff, Michael McKevitt, and his former director of operations, Liam Campbell.

The two men were arrested by gardai as part of Operation Anvil, the big offensive against armed crime in Dublin, after they were spotted acting suspiciously.

Detectives on an Anvil patrol stopped their estate car at Croydon Green in Marino on Tuesday night and a search of the vehicle later unearthed the gun hidden underneath the floor.

Gardai also recovered a number of balaclavas and batons which they think were to have been used in the intended assault. The two men, aged 30 and 21, are both from the Ballybough area in the north inner city. They were being held last night under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act at Clontarf garda station and a decision on their fate was expected to be made this morning.

Meanwhile, detectives from the Santry divisional task force yesterday raided a flat in the north inner city and seized two replica firearms and a quantity of cannabis with a street value of a couple of thousand euro.

Three men were detained and were being held last night under the Offences Against the State Act. The men had been placed under surveillance after they were seen watching a bank in Cloghran, Co Dublin, last weekend. Gardai said there was no paramilitary link to the arrests and they believed the bank raid was to have been carried out by a city crime gang.

Tom Brady
Security Editor

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