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Page last updated at 12:48 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

Irish minister held at gunpoint

Irish minister Dick Roche
Mr Roche had a gun held to his back, a spokesman said

An Irish government minister has been held hostage at gunpoint during an armed robbery, police say.

Minister for European Affairs Dick Roche, 61, was among a number of people seized at a hotel and golf resort near the eastern town of Bray.

No shots were fired during the incident, and the hostages were later released unharmed.

The three male attackers then escaped with an undisclosed sum of money in a getaway car, police said.

The three attackers, one of them armed with a sawn-off shotgun, raided the Druids Glen Marriott Hotel, south of Dublin, on Monday morning, police said.

"No shots were fired or any persons injured during the course of the incident," they said in a statement.

Reports say the attackers stole some 20,000 euros (18,000).

A police investigation is now under way.

Minister 'shaken'

"Mr Roche was returning from a daily swim at the hotel's pool when he was approached from behind and had a gun shoved into his back," the minister's spokesman was quoted as saying by the PA news agency.

"Obviously he is shaken by the incident but is currently helping gardai [police] with their inquiries," the spokesman added.

The Druids Glen Golf Resort is home to one of the Republic of Ireland's leading golf clubs and hosted the Irish Open in the 1990s.

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