A GARDA decision not to scale back the resources deployed in fighting the threat posed by dissident republicans has been proven correct by the discovery of a plot to murder a young British soldier as he celebrated Christmas with his family in Limerick city.
The discovery came as a result of an intelligence-gathering operation over the past couple of months and showed that the dissidents operating on this side of the Border cannot be dismissed as merely providing a logistical back-up role for their units based in the North.
This back-up is vital to the terrorists as it produces home-made explosives and weaponry as well as sourcing vehicles.
But the Limerick plot indicates that the units based here retain the intent and the capacity to murder a member of the security forces.
Their intended target was a local man, who went to the UK to seek work and ended up joining the British army rather than joining the dole queues.
His death was not meant to be a blow for Irish freedom or a step closer to a united Ireland. It was seen as a way of restoring the credibility of the terrorists' local leader, an evil thug whose heavy involvement in criminality and strong connections with drug-trafficking gangs has dominated his agenda in recent years.
The murder of Northern Ireland prison officer David Black at the start of November, the thwarting of bomb attacks in the North and the paramilitary display at the funeral of Real IRA faction leader Alan Ryan in September, had already served as reminders that the dissidents continued to pose a threat to security on both sides of the Border.
The Limerick death plot is further proof underlining why officers must remain on full alert in tackling the terrorists in every garda division in the State and not just along the Border.