Border priest condemns paramilitary threat

Border priest condemns paramilitary threat

A priest based in a border county has condemned dissident republican activity in the area, after paramilitary arms were found by gardaí over the weekend.

Around one thousand rounds of ammunition and a mortar tube were found in two hides, approximately 6km from Omeath, Co. Louth, on Saturday. The ammunition was concealed in lunch boxes stashed in a barrel, which had been buried in the ground.

Commenting on the discovery, Rosminian Fr Oliver Stansfield of St Laurence’s Church, Omeath, said there has been a dissident presence in the vicinity for a “long time” and that he was unsurprised by the discovery.

“This would be the area where you would expect something like that,” he said, adding that the area is a “flashpoint” for people travelling between the north and south of the border.

Activity

Fr Stansfield suggested that the paramilitary activity may be “related” to the topical discussions surrounding a hard border, but that this is difficult to discern given how such activity is already “part and parcel of the area”.

Condemning the discovery, he said: “These things are not helpful for anybody. I’ve no time at all for this sort of carry on to be honest myself.”

The finds followed a search operation by gardaí, with the aid of a digger, as a result of intelligence gathering by officers.

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