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Three in court over dissident activity link

THREE men appeared in the Special Criminal Court charged in connection with an investigation into dissident republican activity.

The three were among nine men arrested during 15 garda searches in counties Wexford, Waterford, Clare and Longford.

Six others remained in garda custody today.

The men who were arrested in the garda swoops range in ages from their 20s to their 50s.

Gardai seized a Magnum revolver, a large quantity of ammunition, a mortar launch pad and other suspect bomb component parts during the searches.

The garda searches targeted the "engineering" section of the dissident group and were part of Operation Designer, set up more than two years ago to crack down on terrorist activity.

Anti-terror officers believe the group had been trying to re-organise since a series of successes by gardai against them earlier in the year.