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Man remains in custody as police investigate Belfast security alert

A 41-year-old man had been arrested by police investigating the security alert on Friday, while a woman has been released on police bail.

27 March 2022

A man remains in custody as police investigate a security alert in Belfast which led to the Irish Foreign Affairs Minister being evacuated from a peace event.

On Sunday, police said a 41-year-old man had been arrested by police investigating the security alert on Friday.

The UVF is suspected of involvement in the incident, in which Simon Coveney was evacuated from an event organised by the John and Pat Hume Foundation in north Belfast.

The Houben Centre, on the Crumlin Road, was evacuated and a funeral service at nearby Holy Cross church was disrupted.

Houben Centre incident
Simon Coveney is ushered from the room at The Houben Centre (Hume Foundation/PA)

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 Police Service of Northern Ireland said detectives from the Serious Crime Branch had arrested the man under the Terrorism Act and he was being questioned at Musgrave Serious Crime Suite.

A 38-year-old woman, arrested early on Sunday, has been released on police bail.

The PSNI said she had been arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances, possession and concealing criminal property and possession of a Class B controlled drug with intent to supply.

The Serious Crime Branch carried out searches in the Ballysillan and Springmartin areas of north and west Belfast on Saturday.

A suspected firearm, two vehicles, a quantity of controlled drugs and a large sum of cash were seized.

Friday’s incident was condemned by politicians across the political spectrum.

Secretary of State Brandon Lewis described it as “reprehensible”.

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