Explosives pass security checks in Slovakia, arrive in Ireland in failed test

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A failed test of security at Slovakia's Poprad airport resulted in a 49 year-old man unknowingly carrying plastic explosives from Slovakia to Dublin, Ireland. The explosives were concealed so well that the man did not find them when he unpacked his bag at his apartment.

On Saturday, Slovak authorities planted contraband in passengers' luggage at Poprad's Poprad-Tatry Airport without the knowledge of passengers. Seven of the eight items were recovered, while an eighth made its way to an apartment in Dublin. Slovak authorities realised on Tuesday that one package of explosives were missing and notified Irish authorities who searched the man's apartment.

During the search, parts of Dublin's inner-suburbs were sealed off and evacuated causing disruption to residents and businesses. At the apartment authorities found the package and arrested the man under anti-terrorism laws; he was later released without charge after it was established he was innocent.

The man, a Slovakian electrician had been living in Ireland for some time. He was holidaying in Slovakia over Christmas.

Ireland's Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform issued a statement saying, "Following contact earlier today from the Slovakian authorities with the Airport Police at Dublin Airport, members of the Garda Síochána have recovered a small quantity of explosive material from the luggage of a passenger who had flown into Dublin from that country on Saturday last."

The package contained 90 grams (3 ounces) of the plastic explosive RDX, also known as cyclonite or hexogen. According to Commandant Gavin Young, a spokesperson for the Irish Defense Forces, "On their own, this type of explosive does need to be combined with other elements to make it into a bomb, but obviously this type of high-grade explosive is potentially extremely dangerous."

Slovakia's Minister for the Interior Robert Kalinak has apologized to Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern over the incident and expressed his “profound regret”. Irish authorities are now investigating the incident and the government has ordered for a full report to be delivered.

The Irish Opposition has expressed concern about the incident. Labour Party spokesman Joe Costello said "This incident led to the closure of roads in the area, the evacuation of businesses and the lives and safety of residents could have been put at risk. We also need to know what protest the government is going to make about this breach of our security."


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