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Hamas-style rockets, AK-47s, Semtex, sniper's rifle, mortars and a Sten gun -some of deadly dissident weaponry uncovered by the Garda in past two years

By Tom Brady

Published 07/01/2016

Detective Sergeant Tom Carey with an improvised rocket
Detective Sergeant Tom Carey with an improvised rocket
Detective Garda Shay O’Donnell holds an AK-47
Samples of some of the other weapons seized during investigations into dissident republican activity in 2014 and 2015 on display at Garda Headquarters in Dublin
Samples of some of the other weapons seized during investigations into dissident republican activity in 2014 and 2015 on display at Garda Headquarters in Dublin

Dissident republicans are developing deadly rockets similar to those fired by Hamas into southern Israel, gardai have revealed.

A raid by anti-terrorist units resulted in the seizure of a prototype model of the Kassam rocket, capable of being fired over a distance of six kilometres.

The seizure is regarded as evidence of the increasing sophistication of dissident "engineers" as they develop the technology of their terrorist organisations.

After the weapons trawl was revealed, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said he was willing to enter talks with dissident terror groups in an attempt to bring an end to their activities. Mr Adams said his previous efforts to reach out to these groups had failed.

"I'm more than happy for Sinn Fein or anyone else to facilitate and support and to help those people who want to be involved in genuine republican politics," he added.

Assistant Garda Commissioner John O'Mahony warned yesterday of the growing capabilities of the dissidents to launch bomb and gun attacks in Northern Ireland with logistical support from their cells operating in the Republic.

He said this view was backed up by the finds made by Garda over the past couple of years when they uncovered a huge arsenal of weaponry from the Real IRA, Continuity IRA and OnH.

A sample of the finds during 2014 and 2015 was put on display at Garda headquarters in Dublin.

Mr O'Mahony said the the force was concerned that the dissidents might attempt to step up their campaign of violence to coincide with the 1916 commemoration events. Garda technical experts said this was the first time they had come across the self-propelled Kassam prototype in a dissident 'factory'. Four were seized in total.

Other previously unknown finds included a new type of detonator and detonating cord and a trigger circuit mechanism involving mobile phones, which could be used to set off bombs remotely rather than relying on wires attached to the devices. Also on display was an adapted beer keg, which had been filled with 50kg of homemade explosive, discovered during searches at Kilcurry, Co Louth, in May 2014.

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