Dissident operation foiled in Cork

Gardai searched a van and recovered two handguns as well as a ten gallon drum of petrol which they believe was going to be used in an attack.

Gardai searched a van and recovered two handguns as well as a ten gallon drum of petrol which they believe was going to be used in an attack.

Sat, Feb 23, 2013, 00:00

Gardaí in Cork have foiled what they believe was a dissident republican operation when they arrested two men and recovered a quantity of firearms this afternoon.

Detectives arrested the two men after observing a van acting suspiciously in the Deanrock area of Togher on Cork's southside.

Following a search of the van gardaí recovered two loaded handguns and ten gallons of petrol which they believe were to be used in an attack.

Detectives arrested the two men - one aged 43 and one aged 30 - under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act and brought them to Togher Garda station.

The men - who are understood to be members of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement which has links with the Real IRA - can be questioned for up to 72 hours.

Garda technical experts are carrying out forensic examinations on the weapons and vehicle.

Gardaí believe they have foiled a significant dissident operation.

"We're still not clear at this stage what was being planned but given what we found in the van, it seems likely that they were up for something big," said one Garda source.

Gardaí later carried out a series of follow up searches at the homes of known dissident republicans on both the north and south sides of the city.