THE Director of Public Prosecutions is to consider laying criminal charges against four men arrested after gardaí discovered a handgun, two baseball bats and balaclavas in their car.
Gardaí were last night carrying out several lines of inquiry in an effort to establish why the men, aged 18 to 26, were travelling to Cork armed with a handgun and baseball bats.
Two uniformed gardaí were operating a routine checkpoint at Cloonlough, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, on Thursday night when the four men approached them driving in a Volkswagen car.
A senior Garda source said the uniformed gardaí became suspicious of its occupants and undertook a search of the vehicle.
On discovering the handgun, gardaí called for back-up which arrived from Mitchelstown.
Two of the men, including the youngest, were taken to Fermoy Garda Station for questioning, while the others were detained at Midleton Garda Station. They were held under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act, which relates to firearms offences. All four were released last night.
The ballistics section at Garda headquarters in Dublin will examine the weapon to see if it is real or an imitation.
It is believed the four men have addresses in the Tullamore area of Co Offaly.
Detectives from the Cork North Garda Division have been liaising with their counterparts in the Midlands. It is understood that the men are well known to gardaí in that region.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved