Hunter finds Provisional IRA rocket launcher hidden in field
A search operation was launched yesterday after the discovery of an old Provisional IRA weapons hide in a field in Co Leitrim.
A hunter found the remnants of the hide as he crossed a field opposite the GAA pitch at Railway Road in Ballinamore.
Gardai called in the Army bomb disposal team, who discovered an improvised grenade launcher that was well wrapped in plastic but was in poor condition.
It was examined at the scene and found not to contain any explosive. It was handed over to the gardai for further analysis and the area was declared safe after midnight yesterday.
The Army team took possession of a quantity of black powder and a detonator, which are component parts of a rocket, for detailed examination. Also found were two rounds of .22 ammunition.
Gardai decided to carry out a more detailed search of the area yesterday to find out if there were further weapon caches hidden there.
The homemade grenade launcher was similar to those used by the Provisionals during the 1970s and 1980s and gardai said it appeared to have been buried in the field for some time rather than dropped there more recently.