Gardaí investigating the activities of dissident Republican groups in Co Louth have recovered a significant weapons cache just a few kilometres from the border.
A substantial quantity of ammunition and a suspected mortar tube were recovered during the planned operation.
The haul was described by gardaí as “significant”. It is believed that the weapons are in working order and are not historic materials.
The ammunition recovered is of varied calibre and of “substantial quantity”, according to gardaí. The suspected mortar tube is due to be examined by Garda ballistics experts.
Searches began early yesterday morning at a wooded area just outside Omeath on the Cooley Peninsula in a pre-planned operation against the activities of dissident Republicans.
Gardaí from stations in Co Louth were aided by several specialist units.
This included the Special Detective Unit, which investigates terrorism, and emergency response units.
The army explosive ordinance disposal team was also at the scene and a full cordon was in place.
Gardaí said that searches would recommence at first light this morning and continue throughout the day.
“A Garda operation is currently underway in Co Louth as part of ongoing investigations targeting the activities of dissident Republican groups,” a statement from gardaí said.
No arrests have yet been made in connection with the searches.
The seizure comes just a fortnight after a car bomb was detonated in Derry.
The incident, which is being investigated by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, has been claimed by a group calling itself “the IRA”.
Nobody was injured in the blast on Bishop St, close to Derry’s courthouse.
Five people were arrested after the bombing and later released without charge.
Both incidents come amid renewed fears about the introduction of border infrastructure after a hard Brexit. Gardaí and PSNI officers have warned that a hard border could become a target for dissidents.