Gardai smash dissidents' scam with seizure of €2m in counterfeit €50 notes
A GARDA operation which smashed a major fundraising plan by dissident republicans has uncovered more than €2m in counterfeit notes.
Most of the money was found at a printing press in a lock-up premises in Co Meath.
The full extent of the haul was revealed yesterday when gardai put a sample of the fake €50 notes and printing presses on display.
The find followed a lengthy undercover operation, led by the Special Branch and involving several national units, into the activities of dissident suspects.
The rented premises was raided last Sunday after it had been located by gardai between Clonee and Summerhill.
Gardai initially seized fake notes worth €20,000 in an operation at the North Circular Road in Dublin.
But a search of the lock-up revealed four boxes, each containing €500,000 worth of counterfeit €50 notes in various forms of completion.
Officers recovered a total of €110,000 in completed notes, which were described as very high-quality fakes.
They varied from genuine notes in the watermarks, which had been superimposed on the fakes, rather than embedded in them during their manufacture.
During the display at Garda headquarters, Supt Dave Taylor described the seized consignment as "sophisticated" and said gardai were concerned that notes of that quality were being manufactured.
"To the untrained eye, they would pass quite easily, particularly in pubs or nightclubs, where money is exchanged very quickly," he said.
"We're asking business people, in particular, to check their stock of €50 notes and look at what money they have. If they come across anything like these, or have some suspicions about the notes, they should contact the gardai immediately."
In the lock-up, gardai also seized two industrial-sized printing presses along with a cutting machine to carve out single notes from overall blocks of four, and computers to impose the graphics on the notes.
Three men have already been charged in connection with the investigation and are before the courts.