GARDAI have arrested eight suspected members of the so-called Dublin brigade of the recently established New IRA alliance.
The eight were detained as they were holding a terrorist summit in a house in Tallaght in south county Dublin last night.
Heavily armed detectives from the Garda's elite anti-terrorist unit stormed the house at Glenshane Crescent.
Those detained are all well known to the Special Branch and are alleged to be highly active members of the new alliance.
Some of them were former supporters of the slain Real IRA leader Alan Ryan, who was shot dead last September.
At least three of those arrested are from Tallaght, while others are from the north side of the capital.
Gardai believe the group were planning a new 'fundraising' campaign in Dublin to finance terror activities in the North.
And they think that a punishment shooting of a former associate was also on the agenda at the meeting.
Officers say the alliance has been very active in recent months and has been involved in extortion rackets and intimidation.
But the new leadership has also been carrying out a campaign against some former associates of the Real IRA when it was led by Ryan.
The leadership has already targeted a number of men they suspected of holding on to cash that was meant for the terrorist coffers but was being used to fund a lavish lifestyle in Dublin's clubs and hotels.
The Dublin group has its own 'brigade' leader but is firmly under the control of the alliance's overall bosses based in the North.
Several former dissident members in Dublin have been expelled from the gang, while others are still under 'investigation'.
Meanwhile, in a separate operation, members of the Special Branch arrested a New IRA suspect from Ballymun around teatime yesterday in a field in north county Dublin.
He was arrested after detectives seized a container in the field. It had been filled with parts for up to 10 pipe bombs and a considerable quantity of explosive powder.
Gardai said the suspect was a former associate of Ryan and had since become an active member of the alliance.
The alliance was formed last summer and has since established itself as presenting the biggest terrorist threat on the island.
It was blamed for the murder of Northern prison officer David Black last November and has been building up its support bases in the Border counties as well as in Belfast and Derry.