Five men are being questioned after a suspected dissident republican bomb plot was foiled near the Irish border.
The men, aged from their 50s to 70s, were detained when a car carrying an improvised explosive, believed to be a home-made bomb in a beer keg, was stopped by armed gardai.
The arrests were made on Sunday night in the Kilcurry area of Co Louth, just outside Dundalk and about one and a half miles from the border with Northern Ireland.
The Garda said the operation was part of ongoing investigations into dissident republican activity and involved officers from the anti-terror special detective unit, the crime and security division and the elite armed emergency response unit.
The Defence Forces’ bomb squad was called in after the car was stopped, and carried out checks on the device.
The arrested men were last night being detained at Drogheda and Dundalk Garda stations under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act. They can be held for up to seven days.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said he was concerned at an explosives find in the midst of the local and European elections.
“If this was an attempt to place a bomb then whoever is responsible should cease their activities,” he said.
“Anyone with an ounce of republican politics or common sense knows that there is a peaceful and democratic way forward,” he added.
It is understood the arrests followed a long-running surveillance operation.