The discovery of Provisional IRA weaponry in the hands of dissident republicans calls into serious question claims that all IRA arms were put beyond use, unionist politicians have said.
The arms were recovered in north Dublin last week but details of their origin were revealed by gardai on Thursday.
The Garda said that some of the large cache had been from Provisional IRA stockpiles that were meant to have been decommissioned.
The haul included 15kg of Semtex explosive along with handguns, shotguns, a sub-machine gun, electronic devices and more than 1,300 rounds of ammunition.
Former Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott praised the Garda for uncovering the haul.
But the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA added: “The discovery of Semtex is particularly significant given that the Provisional IRA’s stock of Semtex was believed to have come from the Libyan connection back in the 1980s.
“We were assured by the DUP that IRA decommissioning had been completed and that all the IRA’s explosives and weaponry had been placed ‘beyond use’ yet for some time now it has been clear that IRA weaponry has been turning up in the hands of so-called dissidents.”
UKIP’s Northern Ireland chairman Henry Reilly also raised concerns about the implications of what has been uncovered. He said it was clear the assurances of those involved in the decommissioning process that all weapons had gone were “not worth the paper they might once have been written on” and called for a “full and substantive investigation into the apparent ease with which so-called Irish republican dissident terrorists can get their hands on such munitions”.