Five IRA dissidents have been arrested on suspicion of trying to bring explosives across the Irish border in Northern Ireland .

Shots were fired at undercover Irish police as they tried to carry out the arrests.

The incident began when police stopped three cars in Omeath, County Louth, just over the Irish border from County Down. The men were arrested and brought to local police stations.

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern, who represents the area in parliament, congratulated police on the success of their operation.

Ironically, he had been meeting with his Northern counterpart David Ford just miles from where the arrests took place.

The Minister said: 'The gardaí and the PSNI (northern police) are working very closely together as is evidenced by what unfolded in the last 24 hours.”