Six men have been arrested in the Republic of Ireland over a plot to assassinate Prince Charles and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, who are due to visit next week.

It is understood the men all have links with the Continuity and Real IRA, both of which are illegal in Ireland and designated terrorist organizations in the UK.

Two of the suspects were arrested in the Glenfarne areas of Leitrim, roughly one hour away from Mullaghmore, where Charles is due to visit as part of a four-day tour of the Republic.

The Prince will pay his respects to his late great uncle Lord Mountbatten, who was killed there in 1979 in a terrorist attack claimed by the IRA.

The six men arrested, aged between 21 and 62, are being held at Garda stations across Ireland.

Irish police, known as the Garda, discovered explosives and weapons at various sites in more than 20 raids intended to disrupt republican activity.

Garda sources told the Irish Daily Mirror they believe they have prevented an IRA plot to assassinate the royal couple.

The operation follows major police action by armed Irish police officers, who conducted a series of raids across Ireland.

Bomb experts sealed off an area of Courtown, in Co Wexford, as they dealt with a suspect device.

Police sources told the Irish Mirror: “Garda have been monitoring a number of people over the past few months.

Ever since it was announced that the British would be coming over, there has been an increase in security. Nothing is being left to chance.”

In relation to the arrests in Co Leitram, the source claimed: “There were two improvised viable devices in the car as well as a handgun.

A Garda spokesman said: “All are currently detained under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act at various Garda stations in the Dublin Metropolitan Region. Investigations are ongoing.

The six men are being questioned on suspicion of directing terrorism, membership of an unlawful organization and possession of explosives.

It is not known yet whether the royal couple will go ahead with the trip in light of the arrests.

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla were due to arrive in Ireland on May 19.

Charles’ official itinerary includes a visit to Mullaghmore, where his great uncle Lord Mountbatten was killed in 1979 when the IRA detonated a bomb on his boat.

Mountbatten, who was the last Viceroy of India, was a mentor to the young prince.

His 14-year-old son Nicolas Knatchbull and a local teenager who was working on the boat were also killed in the explosion, along with the mother-in-law of his daughter.

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