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Huge joint police operation targets republican dissidents

A huge Garda operation in counties Louth and Monaghan aimed at cracking down on dissident republican paramilitaries and criminal gangs led to a similar search operation in Northern Ireland by the PSNI yesterday.

Gardai seized a number of vehicles from premises at Oram and Castleblayney and the PSNI took away the chassis of dismantled vehicles from a garage yard at Cullaville, near Crossmaglen in south Armagh.

Some firearms were also seized during the joint cross-border operation, according to Garda sources.

However, gardai initially declined to give full details of the crackdown, which a spokesman said was “operational”.

It is believed detectives engaged in the operation were also involved in a search of premises in the North Louth area, where more vehicles were taken away for forensic examination.

Five men were being quizzed late yesterday about their activities under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.

Two men were arrested by detectives in Dundalk on Sunday after they stopped and searched a car and discovered a firearm and balaclava. The other three were arrested when Gardaí searched a car in Ardee and discovered ammunition and a balaclava.

The five were still being questioned in Dundalk, Drogheda and Balbriggan Garda stations, on suspicion of being involved in subversive activities.

As part of the operation, follow up searches were carried out in Co Louth and Co Monaghan yesterday.

A handgun with ammunition, a shotgun and ammunition and components of an explosive device were seized, gardai revealed last night.

Belfast Telegraph