Police examine island weapons

Gardai forensic experts have examined the scene

Police in the Irish Republic are continuing to search an uninhabited island on a lake following the discovery of a quantity of weapons and ammunition.

The items were discovered when land was being cleared on Nun's Island in Lough Rea, near Athlone, County Westmeath, on Tuesday night.

Garda forensic experts spent Wednesday on the island examining the arms.

It is believed the weapons, which include two Kalashnikov rifles, about six pounds of Semtex and about 2,000 rounds of ammunition, may have been there for up to 15 years.

The owner of the seven acre uninhabited island, Ciaran O'Connor, found the weapons while cutting back on overgrown trees and bushes in an effort to make the remote island more accessible.

He says he discovered the small number of machine guns and rifles hidden in a barrel in undergrowth.

Gardai, who describe the find as small but significant, say they will have to carry out a full forensic examination of the guns before they can say whether they belonged to a paramilitary organisation.

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