In Brief

Dissident republicans ‘planned Brexit Day bomb’

Northern Ireland police claim the device was intended to explode on ferry

Dissident republicans in Northern Ireland tried to use a truck bomb to blow up a ferry sailing to Scotland on Brexit Day, claim local police.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland discovered the device on a lorry at a commercial premises in Lurgan.

They believe the Continuity IRA, a splinter group that rejects the peace process, had planned to detonate it on a crossing of the Irish Sea on 31 January.

George Clarke, assistant chief constable, said that a phone call was made to a media outlet on 31 January warning that there was a bomb on the trailer of a lorry at Belfast port that was due to sail to Britain.

He said it was a “viable device” that “could have caused death and very serious injury and harm to members of the public. Those who planted this device were reckless or intended to cause that level of harm.”

Det Supt Sean Wright, from the PSNI’s terrorism investigation unit, added: “Had this vehicle travelled and the device had exploded at any point along the M1 [in Northern Ireland], across the Westlink or into the harbour estate, the risks posed do not bear thinking about.

“The only conclusion that we can draw is that once again dissident republicans have shown a total disregard for the community, for businesses and for wider society.”

In a statement to the Irish News the republican group said the device was timed to coincide with Britain’s exit from the EU.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein’s policing spokesman Gerry Kelly has condemned those behind the bomb, which he said could have caused “catastrophic loss of life”.

“The fact is this could have ended up on a ferry,” he said. “If it had exploded, you are talking about catastrophic loss of life, and whoever planted this bomb needs to know that.”

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