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Gangland killing 'thwarted' after cache of firearms seized

An imminent gangland murder has been thwarted with the seizure of up to 20 guns in a warehouse, detectives say.

The cache was uncovered during a raid on a unit at Greenogue Industrial Estate, in Baldonnel, west Dublin on Tuesday.

Among the lethal weapons seized are at least one assault rifle, a sub machine gun, several handguns and several semi-automatic pistols.

A considerable amount of ammunition was also recovered.

Detective Superintendent Tony Howard, of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, said it was a significant setback to gangland criminals.

Three men have been arrested - one of them at the scene.

One line of inquiry is that the stash could be connected to the so-called Kinahan/Hutch feud which spilled over into Dublin's Regency Hotel last February - when Kinahan associate David Byrne was gunned down at a packed boxing weigh-in.

"Very few individuals or groups would have the ability to amass these types of firearms - not only in quantity but in calibre," Mr Howard told a press briefing at Dublin Castle as the operation was ongoing.

At least 15 firearms have been already confirmed in the find, but detectives predict the number could rise to as many as 20 once the search at the industrial estate is completed.

A number of the guns were loaded and ready for use.

"The reality is that this operation disrupted an imminent attack, and I have no doubt we have saved lives as a result of it," said Mr Howard.

"When you take a significant number of firearms (off the street) like we have taken, it seriously impacts on the ability of criminals to operate - and we are talking about serious organised crime here."

The seizure already nearly matches the entire number of firearms recovered in anti-organised crime operations last year, when 18 were found.

The three men arrested - one at the scene and two nearby - are aged between 40 and early 50s.

They are being held at a number of Garda stations in the Irish capital under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.

"These firearms are lethal," said Mr Howard.

"Everyone of them has the capacity of killing not just one person, but multiple individuals."

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