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Dublin dissident arms find: 'Biggest ever' say police

image captionThe cache included former Provisional IRA weapons, police said
image captionSemtex plastic explosives were among the items found in Cloghran
image captionAn UZI 9mm sub machine gun was recovered during the searches
image captionA replica golden gun was displayed as part of the dissident weapon haul

Irish police (gardaí) say they have made their biggest ever find of dissident republican arms and explosives.

Guns, ammunition and 15kg of Semtex explosive were found on land at the Old Airport Road in Cloghran, north Dublin.

Superintendent David Taylor said the seizure was a major blow to the activities of dissident republicans.

The arms were retrieved last week and included former Provisional IRA weapons, according to police.

They told the Irish state broadcaster, RTÉ, that the Semtex they discovered is old and very different from what is currently available, which is more rigorously controlled and harder to acquire.

The weapons haul included an UZI 9mm sub machine gun, revolvers, double barrel shotguns, pistols, an air rifle and a Taser.

More than 1,300 rounds of ammunition and a replica golden gun were also recovered at the scene.

The weapons were found after police searched containers in a yard in Cloghran at about 16:00 BST on Wednesday, 3 July.

RTÉ's crime correspondent. Paul Reynolds, described it as a "significant" find.

media captionSupt David Taylor said the seizure would lead to a significant dent in the activities of dissident groups.

He said police believed the Semtex was part of a Provisional IRA cache that should have been decommissioned but ended up in the hands of dissident republicans.

"I suppose it's not surprising considering senior provisional figures have allied themselves with dissidents," he said.

"They actually believe that this material is part of a haul that was purchased by the IRA in Libya, as far back as 30 years ago.

"Police believe this is a significant blow because it is the largest ever dissident arms and explosives find."

Mr Reynolds said police believed lives had been saved on both sides of the border.

"Police said there was no doubt it saved lives particularly in Northern Ireland," he said.

"Dissidents tend to use the republic as a recruiting ground and a base for logistical support and as a place for storing weapons and explosives while attacks are carried out in Northern Ireland."

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