A Co Louth man in his 30s has been shot dead in Co Meath.

He was shot during a confrontation in the car park of the Huntsman Inn near Gormanston just before 2.30pm.

He has been named locally as Peter Butterly from Dunleer.

Mr Butterly was known to gardaí for his involvement in dissident republican activities.

He was arrested and charged with the transportation of bomb components for assembly three years ago.

Mr Butterly was later acquitted at the Special Criminal Court because a search warrant was declared unconstitutional.

He was married with two teenage daughters and a young son.

Deputy State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar has carried out a preliminary examination and the body has been removed to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

A post mortem examination is due to be carried out tomorrow.

Four men were arrested after gardaí stopped a car on the nearby Balscadden Road. A fifth man was arrested near the scene a short time later.

They are being held at various garda stations in Dublin and can be questioned for up to three days.

The area has been sealed off for a technical and forensic examination.

Gardaí have appealed for anyone with information to contact Laytown Garda Station on 041-9813320 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800-666-111.

They particularly want to speak to to anyone who was around the pub between 1pm and 2.30pm.

Detectives are trying to establish a motive for the shooting, but suspect it could be related to tension within dissident republican groups following the murder of Alan Ryan in Dublin last year.

Superintendent David Taylor said a family liason officer has been appointed to deal with the dead man's family.

He said gardaí have taken a number of witness statements have been taken from people at the scene.