Northern Ireland news

Police get more time to question men over security alert linked to Simon Coveney

Simon Coveney was the target of a UVF bomb hoax in March
David Young, PA

Police investigating a security alert that led to Dublin's foreign minister Simon Coveney being evacuated from a peace event have been granted further time to question two men.

Mr Coveney had to leave the event, organised by the John and Pat Hume Foundation, in north Belfast on March 25.

The Houben Centre in the Crumlin Road was evacuated and a funeral service at nearby Holy Cross Church was disrupted.

Police said the driver of a van was threatened by two gunmen and forced to drive a device, which he believed to be a live bomb, to the church.

The item in the van turned out to be a hoax bomb.

Two men, aged 46 and 51, were arrested by police on Wednesday.

One of the men was named yesterday by The Irish News as prominent loyalist Winston 'Winkie' Irvine.

Two firearms were also seized following operations in the Shankill area of Belfast and in Ballymena, Co Antrim.

Today, the PSNI said it had secured court approval to extend the men’s detention.

A PSNI spokeswoman said: “Terrorism Investigation Unit Detectives were granted a 14 hour extension for the detention of a 46-year-old male and a 34-hour extension for the detention of a 51-year-old male at Belfast Magistrates Court this morning.”

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Northern Ireland news