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Thursday, September 24, 1998 Published at 00:32 GMT 01:32 UK


Major arms find in Irish Republic

The weapons were found in a field near the Irish border

An arms find in the Irish Republic near the Northern Irish border has been confirmed as one of the biggest hauls in recent times.


Louise Duffy reports on the contents of the cache
The weapons were discovered by police investigating the activities of the "Real IRA" terror group responsible for the Omagh bomb which claimed 29 lives.

The find came on the same day that police in the republic seized weapons in raids on the homes of suspected members of the Continuity IRA, the only republican paramilitary group which has not declared a ceasefire.

Haul

The "Real IRA" weapons were uncovered in the dry-stone wall of a field near Carrickmacross in County Monaghan.

They included two machine guns, five rifles (two of them assault weapons), three pistols, bomb detonators and loaded magazines.


[ image: The find was made by police investigating the Omagh bomb]
The find was made by police investigating the Omagh bomb
Police also found more than 700 rounds of ammunition and gunpowder for propelling mortars.

The cache was hidden in a large plastic barrel.

Some of the ammunition was similar to the type once favoured by the IRA for sniping attacks.

It was not clear, however, whether the arms had been stored by the mainstream IRA ahead of its ceasefire, or by the dissident breakaway "Real IRA".

Police Inspector Noel Cunningham said: "It's too early to say at this point whose arms they were.

"At the moment we simply have a cache of arms and until they can be technically examined, we won't know which group they can be attributed to."

The arms were discovered close to where police arrested 12 people on Monday in connection with the theft of a car used in the Omagh atrocity.



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