20 April 2006

Will of the people 'will thwart dissidents'


20/04/2006 - 13:24:37

Dissident republicans who are intent on causing death and destruction in the North will be thwarted by police and the will of the people, it was claimed today.

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell warned that a small group of fanatics wouldn’t derail the peace process, which has overwhelming public support.

His warning came as the PSNI continued to question four men in connection with yesterday’s discovery of bomb components in Lurgan, Co Armagh.

Officers believe dissident republican paramilitaries were constructing the 200-pound device for an imminent attack.

Mr McDowell told reporters at a Garda graduation ceremony in Templemore, Co Tipperary: “There are two main dissident Republican groups, and both of them are attempting to disrupt the peace process and to somehow blow it off course.

“They are also intent on creating death and destruction in Northern Ireland.

“They believe in some mad way that this will advance the cause of united Ireland.

“All of this will be forlorn because the will of the people is far stronger than any wishes of a small group of fanatics.”

He praised the work of the PSNI and the Garda Síochána, who he said had foiled bombing attempts in the past.

Four men, aged between 22 and 46, were arrested following yesterday’s surveillance-led police bust on a breaker’s yard on the Antrim Road.

Mr McDowell estimated that the Continuity IRA and the Real IRA had up to 200 members each.

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