Northern Ireland news

Police confirm British soldiers joined search of Saoradh offices in Derry's Bogside

Seamus McKinney

POLICE have recovered more than 300 "functioning fireworks" and 100 fuses from other fireworks during a 5am search at dissident republican group, Saoradh's headquarters in Derry's Bogside.

Chief inspector, Jonathan Hunter said the search yesterday followed a number of attempts by neighbourhood officers to contact Junior McDaid House after they were made aware that Saoradh members were in possession of fireworks.

Mr Hunter said: "In order to minimise disruption to the public, a search was carried out at approximately 5am today in Chamberlain Street assisted by a military search team given the associated risks around the presence of explosive materials within the community."

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Saoradh spokesman, Paddy Gallagher said party members seized the fireworks in Derry's Creggan area after residents expressed concern about them.

"The fireworks were then taken to Junior McDaid House where they were dismantled and soaked in water in preparation for other community representatives to safely dispose of them."

He said the search followed an increased campaign against activists including the arrest and later unconditional release of Saoradh's local chairman and vice-chairman.

"This has culminated in a combined British army and British military intelligence raid on our party headquarters, despite former republicans telling us there is no British army operating within the six counties anymore," he said.

Police said a 21-year-old man was arrested during yesterday's search on suspicion of breaching bail.

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