DISSIDENT republicans are hatching a plan to carry out a terror attack while eight of the world’s most powerful leaders are in Northern Ireland.
But Belfast Daily understands an attack will not be carried out in Co Fermanagh where the G8 summit is being hosted at the Lough Erne Hotel and Golf Resort.
Instead, groups like the ‘New IRA’ and Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) have plans to carry out an attack where there is very little visible security presence.
The bulk of the security force personnel will be centred in Fermanagh, Omagh and Belfast to manage anti-G8 protests and rallies by anti-peace process republicans.
However, security sources said that police chiefs fear dissident republicans will use the opportunity to try and grab global headlines with a huge bomb attack or the assassination of one or more police officers with the world’s media taking up temporary residence in Northern Ireland.
“They will be looking for soft targets, something that will overshadow the G8 talks and give them the headlines around the world,” said a secrity source.
“Officers have been repeatedly warned that the threat from dissidents is very severe. It will just be as severe during G8 if not more.
“We have seen in recent weeks their attempts to kill police officers by gun and bomb using bogus 999 call outs.
“They may will switch tactics and try and kill a police officer as he leaves for work using an UCBT (undercar booby trap bomb); they may attack a police station with a 2,000lb home made bomb; or they may attack a ‘soft skinned’ police car in a quiet residential area with an RPG rocket and automatic gun fire.
“These are all the potential scenarios that are being looked at and as the dissidents have shown they are well capable of mounting various attacks.”
As well as the severe threat posed by dissidents, anti-G8 summit protests are giving security chiefs cause for concern.
As a result, the PSNI, prisons and courts in Northern Ireland have plans in place to deal with up to 260 arrests a dayvduring the G8 summit.
A temporary custody centre has been built on the site of the former Lisanally army base in Omagh which has six cell blocks are each capable of holding 16 people.
The G8 summit will take place at the Lough Erne golf resort in County Fermanagh on 17 and 18 June.
Anyone arrested during protests at, or near the resort, will be taken to the Omagh centre to be questioned and held before going to court.
“In a worst case scenario we could process up to 260 detained persons at any one time,” said Superintendent Paula Hilman.
“But I would emphasise that is the worst case scenario, and those plans can be scaled back or scaled up depending on what is happening operationally on the ground over the G8 period.”
The temporary custody centre, and two others at police stations in Belfast, will have staff from the Public Prosecution Service on site working alongside PSNI officers to prepare court papers.
Doctors and interpreters will also be available.
“The aim is to make the process as quick as possible,” said Supt Hilman.
“We will be able to have a detained person processed, interviewed if required, charged, and appear before the court in a very short time, in a matter of hours.”
Sixteen judges have been put on standby to preside over special court sittings in Belfast, Dungannon and Antrim.
If required, the courts will operate from 9 am to 9pm from Saturday until Wednesday.
Twenty extra prison vans have been brought in from England to take protesters from custody centres to court, and then to prison if they are remanded in custody to wait for trial.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that schools and council property in Enniskillen will be protected by private security guards amid concerns that playing fields may be used as campsites by protesters during the summit.
The police expect some protesters will remain at the fence around the Lough Erne resort overnight during the summit.
The roads service has also put plans in place in case trees are cut down to block roads.