A SUSPECTED terrorist cell, smashed by the Garda Special Branch after an explosives seizure, is believed to be closely linked to a former member of the Provisional IRA army council.
Garda anti-terrorist units seized four rocket launchers after intercepting a convoy of cars between Clonmel and Cahir in Co Tipperary on Thursday night.
Officers believe the haul was destined, ultimately, for the supporters of the former provisional boss, based in south Armagh and east Tyrone.
The provo chief was regarded as a commander of the organisation in the Tyrone-Monaghan area before being appointed to the army council.
He has since become an opponent of the peace process and is now a prominent figure in the new terrorist alliance that includes the Real IRA.
Gardai seized the cache as a result of a major operation involving the Special Branch, the emergency response unit and the national surveillance unit.
Last night officers were still questioning three men, including two brothers, about the find.
They are all from Limerick and are being held at Clonmel and Cahir stations under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.