Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern confirmed that the threat of serious violence from dissident republicans is as strong as it was during the height of the Troubles. 

The bomb attack near MI5 headquarters in Co Down has reinforced Ahern's belief that the Real IRA poses a serious threat to peace in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Association of Garda Superintendents (AGS), Ahern stated that the Irish police played a key role in preventing terrorist acts in the republic.

“We have been pretty successful in the Republic. It would have to be said that a lot of the recent events are coming from within Northern Ireland, and that’s something we have to assist the PSNI in.,” said Ahern.

Ahern added that Irish government was "very concerned" about the recent upsurge in dissident activity in the North.

"This threat is as strong as it was at any time during the Troubles. All it takes is a small number of people who are committed in this respect – and these people have shown that they are committed.”

Ahern is due to meet the North's, First Minister for Justice David Ford, in Belfast tomorrow.

It will be their first meeting since Ford was elected to the Justice Ministry.

The Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy and PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott will also be attending the meeting.

"They are of great concern (dissident republicans). The bomb in Newry a few weeks ago was the first bomb that exploded in the North in 10 or 11 years.” said Murphy.