Gardai dealt a body blow to dissident terrorists in Dublin last night after seizing a haul of plastic explosives and grenades.
The find was made in an outbuilding in an apartment block on the northside of the capital during a planned search.
An Army bomb disposal team carried out a three-hour operation to make the haul safe before it could be removed for forensic examination.
A senior garda officer said last night: "This is a significant find and it could have resulted in a loss of life in the hands of subversives".
The cache included some plastic explosive components, a live grenade and an inert one, several replica rifles and a large quantity of ammunition.
It was found in a number of bags, boxes and a suitcase that had been hidden in the outbuilding at the Distillery Loft apartments, off Distillery Road in Drumcondra.
Gardai said last night that it appeared that the cache had only been in the outbuilding for a short period and had probably been dropped off there for collection by dissidents.
Follow up inquiries were under way last night to establish the identity of those involved in the haul.
Officers hope that a detailed examination of the haul will yield fingerprint and other evidence linking it to known terrorists.
A number of small groups of dissident activists, from both the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA, are operating in the north city and are mainly involved in extortion and racketeering to raise funds.
The thugs have been targeting pubs and clubs to gain a slice of their profits in return for "protection", while the terrorists have also clashed with organised crime gangs.
Last September members of the Real IRA murdered a major gangland figure, Michael 'Mica' Kelly in Clongriffin, Dublin, in a row over money.