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Ireland probes bombs found before Prince Charles visit


Prince CharlesIrish police on Thursday quizzed six men including a top dissident republican after finding two bombs ahead of a visit by Britain’s Prince Charles, the police and news reports said on Thursday.

The devices were found as police searched 20 homes and also stopped a car near an area that Charles will be visiting, finding a pistol and bomb components.

The bombs, described by army experts as “viable” improvised explosive devices, have been defused.

“The vast majority of people in Ireland support the visit,” Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald was quoted by Irish media as saying on Thursday.

Asked about Wednesday’s arrests, she said: “I expect Prince Charles will have a very positive visit here and clearly the gardai (police) are alert to any security issues”.

The Irish Times said that one of the men arrested was a leading republican with a number of terror-related convictions who was responsible for training new recruits in bomb-making and handling firearms.

The men were being held in Dublin police stations, although sources quoted by Irish media said there was no evidence of a credible plot to target next week’s visit by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla.

During his four-day trip, Charles is due to visit for Mullaghmore in northwest Ireland for the first time.

The spot is near where his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten was killed along with three other people in 1979 by a bomb planted by Irish Republican Army (IRA) militants on his fishing boat.

It is believed to be the first visit to the area by a member of the royal family since the assassination.

Lord Mountbatten was an uncle of Queen Elizabeth II’s husband Prince Philip.

Protests are expected during Prince Charles’s visit, which also accompanied a ground-breaking trip by the Queen in 2011 — the first by a British monarch since Ireland became independent a century ago.

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