The main cable link between Ireland and America has been tapped by British intelligence, a new raft of papers released by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

The new documents, published in a German newspaper, reveal that a number of underwater cables that connect Ireland to the word are all being tapped into by British intelligence.

It means that all internet communications as well as phone calls are potentially intercepted by British intelligence.

The main cable connecting the US and Ireland is called Hibernia and stretches from Dublin to South Kerry across the Atlantic to Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

Another leg of the same cable stretches from Dublin to Holyhead in Wales.

A document released by Snowden details those cables which the British Government Communication Headquarters, based in Cheltenham in England, has either gained or sought access to.

The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is a British intelligence and security organization responsible for providing signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information assurance to the British government and armed forces under the formal direction of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) alongside the Security Service (MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and Defence Intelligence (DI). 

The document notes that the British intelligence operatives are dissatisfied with their access to the Irish cables and wants it improved.

The Snowden documents outline a number of underwater cables – the lines that connect Ireland to the outside world that are being tapped.