Two men have been arrested by Gardaí in Dublin and are being questioned in relation to serious crime. The arrests were made early this morning. The men are being held at undisclosed Garda Stations under the Offences against the State Act. A Garda spokesman said that the arrests are part of investigations into dissident Republican groups.

Police forces throughout Britain have been put on alert after Scotland Yard warned that there is a very real threat of paramilitary attacks over Christmas and the New Year from dissident Republican groups opposed to the Good Friday Agreement. The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has warned that a handful of dissidents continue to defy efforts to achieve a long-term peace in the North, but he has insisted the government is not planning for failure. Bertie Ahern told the Dáil that the focus remained on success and on ensuring that each of the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement is implemented. He also said stringent security efforts would continue.

According to a story in today's Guardian newspaper, the new threat could come from a grouping of the Real IRA, the Continuity IRA, the INLA and some disaffected members of the IRA itself. Police have briefed major companies and security has been increased in London around the parliament buildings, the financial district and the docklands area.

The paper reports that senior detectives have "genuine concerns for public safety" after a series of intelligence operations in Ireland and Britain. The paper claims that the Real IRA met over the weekend to discuss the best way to derail the peace process.