Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy

Seven men and one women arrested in an anti-terrorist operation in Ireland have all been released without charge. According to the Gardai (Irish police) two other men have been charged in connection with recent dissident Republican activity and they appeared in Irish court on Sunday.

The two men were arraigned on charges of Republican activities following a series of raids on suspected IRA dissident headquarters in the Republic.

Nicholas Kendall of Wexford was charged with unlawful possession of a semi-automatic pistol, ammunition and a bomb part, authorities said. The other man, 33-year-old Peter Butterly, was charged with being a member of an Irish Republican dissident group.

Both men refused to comment on what charges had been made against them. They were later remanded into custody and are set to appear in court again this morning.

Meanwhile, high level security operations remain in place in the North in a bid to thwart planned attacks by dissidents and security crackdown have been aided by tips supplied by the public.

The arrests of the men and one woman on Saturday occurred in several locations throughout Ireland and the suspects were held under the Irish Republic's Offences Against the State anti-terrorism legislation. Irish law allows all terror suspects to be held for up to three days without charge.

Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy, the country's top police officer, said on Monday that Irish authorities are continuing their operations to disrupt dissident IRA activity. In their recent searches officers reported recovering a machine gun, a shotgun, a pipe bomb, assorted ammunition, bomb-making equipment and explosives in a series of operations carried out in County Louth and County Meath.

"This find represents a further step in our determined strategy to target, disrupt and detect the activities of dissident republicans," Murphy told the press. "Our objective is to stop them in their tracks and secure evidence to put them before the courts."