Nine people have been arrested by gardaí in Limerick in an operation aimed at curbing gang-related criminal activity in the city.

The arrests were made in a major planned operation by gardaí early this morning.

Up to 130 gardaí were involved in the operation searching several houses in the Ballinacurra Weston area on the southside of the city.

Nine men aged in their 20s, 30s and 40s were taken into custody and are being questioned at a number of garda stations in the city.

Seven of those detained are being questioned under the new gangland legislation introduced last year. They can be held for up to a week if necessary.

One man is being held under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act and another under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

No weapons have been seized as yet, but searches are continuing.

The operation was carried out by local garda units, assisted by the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Emergency Response Unit and the Garda National Immigration Bureau.