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Bomb fiasco victim relives trauma as troops stormed in

Gardai phoned the man who had explosives planted on his backpack by Slovak authorities twice before breaking down his door.

Electrician Stefan Gonda has spoken for the first time about the ordeal and says he was traumatised by the actions of the gardai.

The 49-year-old father has been assured that compensation is forthcoming -- from his government, not the Irish State.

And he says he has also received an apology from gardai for the tactics that saw Army bomb experts storm his apartment in a joint operation with gardai at Dorset Street, in Dublin.

In a statement issued to a Slovak news agency, Mr Gonda explained his unintentional involvement in this month's bomb fiasco. He outlined how he discovered the dangerous substance RDX which was planted by Slovak border police as part of a training exercise to test sniffer dogs.

While the dogs located the substance at Poprad Airport, a police officer "forgot" to take it away and it became entangled in Mr Gonda's Dublin-bound luggage.

The mistake sparked a major row between Dublin Airport and Slovak authorities, who sent a warning telex to a luggage carrier instead of airport police.

Today, Mr Gonda said he was first made aware of the package two days after the flight.

He received a phone call from Slovakian representatives advising him that RDX may be attached to his bag.

"I checked the bag and after a while I really found in the hip straps a small polythene bag with gray matter," he said, reconfirming police claims that the substances was not placed inside the backpack.

Slovak police explained the situation to him and informed him that Irish police would collect the package the next morning.

Mr Gonda says he received two phone calls from gardai the next day before officers arrived at his house and a large section of Drumcondra was cordoned off and shut down.

Army bomb experts removed the substances, while gardai arrested Mr Gonda and brought him to a city centre station for questioning.

Trauma

"It took a few hours for me to understand the reason for my detention, which caused me trauma," he said.

The Slovak adds that after several hours a garda told him he would be released without any further consequences and an apology was given.

Mr Gonda said that he believes the decision was taken after consultations with the Slovak ministry.

Slovak interior minister Robert Kalinak and the Slovak embassy in Dublin engaged in solving the problem, he said.

"An amount of compensation" has been organised, Mr Gonda added, and asked that his privacy be respected.

kdoyle@herald.ie