Commenting, the South Antrim MLA said:
“The seizure of this illegal weapons hide is extremely significant and every right-thinking person will welcomed these firearms being taken off our streets.
Whilst I commend those involved in this operation, it not clear why the PSNI is yet to publicly comment on the origin of this cache of guns, who had access to them and whether it is linked either to a proscribed terrorist group or organised crime.
At Thursday’s Policing Board meeting, the Chief Constable confirmed that this would be clarified shortly and in the interests of public confidence and full disclosure, it is crucial that the organisation follows through on that commitment.
Coupled with the recent upsurge in shootings and attacks on police vehicles, this latest find calls into question the decision to railroad through the politically-motivated South Armagh review and apply sweeping changes to the local policing model, including the proposal to close the Crossmaglen station.
It is essential that any escalation in criminal or paramilitary activity in South Armagh is regularly monitored to ensure the PSNI presence and resources in place can deal with the threat posed to police officers and members of the public. If changes are warranted, the Chief Constable should not bow to political pressure from Sinn Fein and republicans to sit on his hands.’’