Two men have appeared before a special sitting of the Special Criminal Court tonight charged with the possession of explosive substances.

The men were arrested in Co Kildare last Thursday by gardaí investigating dissident republican activity.

44-year-old James Brennan, of Rosconnell Avenue, Newbridge and 39-year-old Joseph Kirwan, of Closelands, Ballybrittas, Co Laois were both charged with the possession of explosive substances and other materials at Mr Brennan's home in Newbridge on 28 February.

Materials included six complete casings for a plate-type pipe-bomb, a Parva welder, a grinder and grinder blades, welding masks, lengths of steel and other materials.

Mr Brennan was also charged with membership of the IRA.

Neither man made any reply when cautioned by gardaí and no application for bail was made.

Both were remanded in custody to appear before the court again next Wednesday.