A YOUNG man who gardai suspect has begun making pipe bombs has been arrested after being caught with shotgun cartridges and drugs paraphernalia.
The 22-year-old was travelling in the Tulla area of Co Clare with a 17-year-old boy when their car was stopped on Tuesday evening by uniformed gardai who recovered several cartridges and drugs paraphernalia.
The pair, from Clare, were arrested and taken to Killaloe garda station.
As part of follow-up investigations, gardai searched two premises in the Sixmilebridge-Kilmurry area and a house in the main street of Tulla.
A pipe bomb was found in the upstairs bedroom in the house and the building was evacuated
The street was also closed off as gardai waited for the army's bomb disposal team, who examined and made safe the device.
While it was crudely made, it was regarded as a viable explosive device with the potential to cause serious injury.
One theory gardai are investigating is that the arrested 22-year-old had recently begun to manufacture pipe bombs.
Fianna Fail TD Timmy Dooley, who was in Tulla when the pipe bomb was found, said: "Locals were surprised when the guards moved in to seal off the area.
"They closed off a wide area to ensure that the public were safe at all times.
"I think what it demonstrates to all of us is that the threat of extreme violence is evident in every community regardless of whether it's a built-up urban area or a rural community."
Gardai are satisfied the discovery was not connected with the recovery of five pipe bombs last year in a ditch in Tulla.
It was the second call-out this year for bomb disposal squad members.
Last Sunday, four pipe bombs found in a derelict house in Dundalk were made safe.
Capt Laura Keane of the Defence Forces said bomb disposal teams had been called out to deal with 96 incidents of improvised explosive devices last year.