Two men have been arrested after gardaí seized a loaded handgun in circumstances where they believe the intention was to commit murder.

The men, aged 25 and 28, were arrested on the Howth Road in Killester at around 5pm.

Their car was stopped by armed officers from the Emergency Response Unit and the firearm was discovered.

The two are known to gardaí as being connected to the Kinahan crime gang and it is believed they were involved in targeting a member of the rival Hutch gang.

The place where they were arrested, in front of the Supervalu shop in Killester is not far from the home of Gerard Hutch, the man known as the Monk, who is currently in hiding.

The Assistant Commissioner in charge of the Garda's Special Crime Operations said this evening the men were arrested "in possession of a fully loaded gun circumstances where it is suspected there was an intention to commit murder".

Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll also said the force will continue to closely monitor the activities of people associated with organised crime groups with a view to protecting the lives of their intended victims.