GARDAI in Co Donegal are involved in ‘unprecedented’ cooperation in an effort to thwart a new terror campaign by the Real IRA – and have vowed to prevent the county being used as a ‘safe haven’ for gunmen and bombers.
Last week the terror gang behind the Omagh bomb announced it had recruited former members of the Provisional IRA and was now calling itself ‘the IRA’.
Security sources however have insisted the gang is the Real IRA.
Donegaldaily has learned that extra resources have been made available in a bid to thwart dissidents using the county to launch attacks in the North.
There are fears the Real IRA plan to step up its attacks in and around Derry and Strabane in the coming weeks and Gardai are determined the terrorists won’t be able to see Donegal as an easy getaway route.
“This county will not be a safe haven for dissidents or any other terrorist group,” said a Garda source.
“There is little or no support for dissidents in the North and there is very little support in Donegal for them either.
“There is now unprecedented cooperation between police forces north and south and we are determined to do everything we can to prevent further attacks.”
Gardai have already stepped up patrols along Border routes and are in constant contact with PSNI officers north of the Border.
Checkpoints have been mounted over the weekend as fears grow of more dissident attacks.
However we have also learned that armed gardai are also patrolling the Border in unmarked vehicles.
Armed officers were on patrol at the weekend which led to three men in connection with the discovery of guns and ammunition in south Armagh.
The men, aged 34, 35 and 39 will appear in court in Newry today.
They are charged with possession of firearms with the intent to endanger life, preparation for committing acts of terrorism and possession of articles likely to be of use to terrorists.
Police said a “substantial amount” of machine guns, rifles and handguns were found.
The weapons were discovered in a vehicle during a joint PSNI and Garda operation in Keady on Friday.
The charges follow the discovery of a second quantity of bomb making equipment in separate searches in south Armagh.
Since the murder of 25-year-old PSNI constable Ronan Kerr three weeks ago, police have warned that dissidents are continuing to target its officers.