Belfast Telegraph

Rockets, mortars, AK47s - IRA dissidents' deadly weapons haul seized by police

A lethal haul of dissident republican weapons including rockets, Semtex explosives, mortars, AK47s and a sniper rifle have been revealed by anti-terrorist police.

Warning of the increasing terrorism threat on both sides of the border, gardai displayed a beer keg bomb discovered during searches at Kilcurry, Co Louth in May 2014.

Some of the most shocking discoveries included sophisticated, home-made rockets, about four feet long, which could have been self-propelled by an electronic firing mechanism and carry explosive warheads.

In 2015, 31 people were arrested on suspicion of dissident republican activity and 22 have appeared before the Special Criminal Court charged with terrorism related offences.

The lethal haul was recovered in a series of operations over the past two years when about 30 pieces of weaponry and 1,000 rounds of ammunitions were taken off the streets.

It also included a Sten machine gun, bullets for rifles and materials for bomb detonators including a phone trigger circuit, cords and timer power units.

Gardai said the seizures and arrests were made all over the country including in Cork, Limerick, Mayo, Waterford, Kildare and Louth.

Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahony said: "I can say with confidence that our interventions and arrests have, without doubt, saved lives.

"I don't say this lightly and I think the array of items on display demonstrates a lethal capability."

Gardai stressed the weaponry on display was on only a sample of what is available to dissidents in Ireland.

The Assistant Commissioner added: "Our success in disrupting this dissident republican activity is demonstrative of our commitment and capability in this area.

"One of the strategic goals of An Garda Siochana is to maintain national security and we will continue to direct our resources in areas which disrupt the activities of these individuals and help keep the people of this island safe."

And he also warned detective units would be on the look out for dissidents attempting to use the 1916 centenary to launch attacks.

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