Newry arrests: house under surveillance for months

November 17, 2014

The house in Ardcarne Park in Newry, at which twelve men were arrested in a police swoop on Monday last, had been under covert surveillance for several months, it has emerged.

Dozens of heavily armed officers from the PSNI’s Special Operations Branch, wearing balaclavas and hi-tech helmets, swooped on the house around 6.00pm on Monday.

Eleven of the men were apprehended inside the bungalow while the twelfth man was detained in a car parked outside.

Police said the arrests were part of an investigation into “violent dissident republican activity”.

In the lengthy operation, the suspects were removed one by one from the house to a tent, which had been erected in the garden, where they were searched before being taken to Antrim crime suite for questioning.

Searches were conducted in the house and garden while it was reported locally that an army surveillance drone was also used during the operation.

The men, aged between 36 and 75, are allegedly linked to the Continuity IRA and detectives claim they were holding “an all-Ireland summit” when the raid took place.

It is believed the house had been under covert surveillance since August and that transcripts of recordings made during the undercover operation have been presented to the men during police questioning.

A number of high profile republicans from the Republic were among those detained.

Five of the men were released on Wednesday, pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS), while detectives were granted a five-day extension to further question the remaining seven.

At the time of going to press, the seven men remained in custody.  A police spokesperson would only confirm the men were “continuing to help police with their enquiries”.