April 16, 1994.
A massive garda-army operation is currently underway in Laois/Offaly in an orchestrated search for IRA arms and explosives.
The sweeping hunt across the Slieve Bloom mountains is a planned search headed up by senior garda personnel from the Laois-Offaly division.
The intensive search of the afforested mountain terrain centres around the villages of Cadamstown, Kinnitty and Clonaslee across the Laois/Offaly border.
The officer in charge of the search operation is Superintendent PJ Colleran from Birr, but it is known that many other top ranking officers including Chief Superintendent John O’Brien, Portlaoise, have a hands-on involvement in the operation.
A large force of soldiers and gardaí initiated the joint search when they moved in to cordon off the entire locality at dawn yesterday morning (Tuesday, April 15).
The operation has a secret codename and Superintendent O’Brien would only say yesterday evening that the search was expected to continue for some time.
“It is part of the countrywide, ongoing search for arms and explosives,” Supt O’Brien said.
Gardaí backed up by soldiers set up road blocks on all routes in and out of the mountain from early yesterday morning and said that this was merely part of a normal routine search pattern.
It is thought that the search comes as a result of ongoing garda activity and surveillance in the region where security forces believe the IRA may be operating a training camp.
There are suspicions of the area being used for an arms dump as the gardaí believe there are a number of people with Republican sympathies in the region.
Even by the standards of recent successful arms cache finds, this search is viewed by gardaí authorities as a big operation and they appear optimistic of it yielding results for the security forces.
Locals in the area reported that everyone moving throughout the district was being questioned by the authorities and asked for their particulars.