Three men, all believed to be senior dissident republicans, have been arrested and a loaded handgun recovered in a major garda operation.

The three men, aged 38, 39 and 44, were arrested in a house in Belturbet, Co Cavan, earlier today in what is seen as a major success for gardaí in the fight against dissident republicans.

One of the three tried to escape but was chased down by armed gardaí.

Two of the men are being questioned in Cavan Garda Station while the third is in Ballyconnell.

A number of cars have also been removed from the area by gardaí for forensic tests.

Gardaí said the arrests were made as part of the ongoing operations against dissident republicans and they are continuing to cooperate closely with the PSNI.

It is believed the three men are being questioned about the car bomb attack on a Catholic PSNI officer in Co Antrim earlier today and also about the attack on the British Army base at Massereene in which two soldiers were murdered by dissident republicans.