A 100lb roadside bomb was found in countryside near the Irish border, it was revealed today.
The explosives were discovered in a beer keg by a man working in a field in south Fermanagh.
It was just outside an area where police carried out a series of searches, six weeks after terrorists claimed to have left the device somewhere along a 10-mile stretch between the villages of Rosslea and Donagh.
The bomb was close to a hedge three miles outside Rosslea, not far from where two police officers escaped when a bomb under a bridge failed to detonate properly last June.
Two soldiers and a Police Service of Northern Ireland officer were shot dead by dissident republicans at Craigavon, Co Armagh, and at Massereene, Co Antrim, in March and police believe more lives could have been lost if this bomb had gone off.
Several families had to be evacuated from their homes when Army explosives experts were called in to check the device.
It is not known what state it was in, but police confirmed that component parts for an substantial explosive device had been recovered.
The disruption to people's lives was massive, according to Chief Inspector Alywin Barton, the area commander for Fermanagh.
He added: "The impact on their lives, and their livelihoods, especially at such a difficult economic time, has been huge. But then the people responsible for this don't care. They have a single-track mind with no though for anybody else."
Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, from Birmingham, and Patrick Azimkar, 21, from London, were shot dead as they collected pizzas outside the Massereene Army base in Antrim on March 7. Just hours later Pc Stephen Carroll, 48, was ambushed by a gunman in Craigavon.
A 300lb car bomb was abandoned near Castlewellan, Co Down, in January and the discovery of the latest device confirmed police claims of a heightening threat from dissidents, especially in Fermanagh where security had been tightened.
There have been a series of failed attacks in the country of the past 12 months.
Last August two officers escaped when a rocket was fired in Lisnaskea. A bomb was defused at Wattlebridge in October and then in January, again in Lisnaskea, a shot was fired at the town's police station where the perimeter fence is to be made higher as part of new security measures.