You are here: Home » International » News » Politics
Business Standard

Northern Irish police finds bomb attached to a truck timed for Brexit

The Continuity IRA (Irish Republican Army), a dissident paramilitary group, were blamed for planting what detectives said was a viable device

Brexit | Northern Ireland

AFP | PTI  |  London 

A countdown clock is illuminated at 10 Downing Street on Brexit day in London, Britain Photo: Reuters

Northern Irish police said Thursday they had found a bomb attached to a truck which was intended to go off as the UK left the European Union.

The Continuity IRA (Irish Republican Army), a dissident paramilitary group, were blamed for planting what detectives said was a viable device.

Dissident republicans like the Continuity IRA seek Northern Ireland's integration into the Republic of Ireland through violent means.

Police said a sketchy warning call was made to a media outlet on January 31 -- the day the United Kingdom left the EU -- about a device on a truck in Belfast docks, due to take a ferry to mainland Britain.

Searches were conducted and nothing was found.

But on Monday, a more detailed warning call said the device had been attached to a truck trailer belonging to a particular haulage company.

It was found inland at an industrial estate in Lurgan, southwest of Belfast, and was made safe by British army bomb disposal experts.

Police believe the Continuity IRA thought the trailer was destined for a ferry to Scotland but had selected the wrong vehicle as the one containing the bomb did not leave the premises at all.

The bomb "could have caused death and very serious injury," said the Northern Irish police's temporary assistant chief constable George Clarke.

Those who created the bomb "did intend that the device would explode at around the time the UK left the EU", he added.

The UK deems the Northern Ireland-related terror threat level to be severe -- the second-highest of five levels -- meaning an attack is considered "highly likely".

The United Kingdom left the EU on January 31, with a major sticking point in three years of withdrawal agreement negotiations between London and Brussels.

A solution had to be found that would keep the UK's only land border free-flowing between and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state.

An open border was a provision of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that largely ended more than three decades of violence in

In a transition period, Britain will adhere to EU rules until the end of the year, when a controversial dual customs system is introduced in Northern Ireland.

The Republic of Ireland has a general election on Saturday. Mainstream republicans Sinn Fein topped the last opinion poll.

Northern Ireland's police chief Simon Byrne gave the force's oversight body a briefing on the incident at their monthly meeting on Thursday.

"This could have ended up on a ferry," Sinn Fein board member Gerry Kelly told the UK's Press Association news agency.

"If it had exploded, you are talking about catastrophic loss of life.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Thu, February 06 2020. 23:16 IST