Probe after garda team seizes six pipe bombs from shed
GARDAI are investigating the discovery of six deadly pipe bombs in a housing estate yesterday.
The bombs were found shortly after lunchtime in a shed on waste ground at the rear of a row of houses in Granville Park, Limerick city.
The find comes days after a five-year-old boy had fingers blown off when he picked up a similar device in Co Wicklow.
Security sources believed the bombs were made by a subversive group for a criminal gang operating in the Ballinacurra Weston area -- the stronghold of the McCarthy/Dundon criminal gang.
Gardai found the explosive devices after obtaining a search warrant at the district court yesterday morning. Detectives were acting on intelligence received from a criminal source.
"Like guns and ammunition -- all the top criminals want pipe bombs too. They are sometimes thrown in with drug consignments and other weaponry that they purchase," said a garda source.
The bombs can be sold cheaply on the illegal firearms market, depending on their quality. According to the garda source, the bombs are usually bought in bulk, because it is cheaper to do so.
"You could buy one pipe bomb for between €200 and €400, but you can buy up to 10 bombs for around €2,000," said the garda source.
"They are cheap enough. We believe the Provos are making them and selling them to the gangs. The people who are making the bombs obviously have expertise."
One major problem facing criminals who buy the crude bombs is safety. "Transport is a big problem because you are taking a chance yourself by handling the bombs."
Pipe bombs are usually made from tubular steel structures packed with gun powder and shrapnel. "There is a nut at the bottom of the bomb which explodes the device, the shrapnel spreads and can cause serious injuries or death," said the garda source.
An Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit travelled to the scene from Cork yesterday to inspect the six bombs. According to Superintendent Frank O'Brien seven houses were evacuated because of the threat.
The bombs were discovered in a shed in an area that was previously designated for a children's playground.
The area is only accessed with keys that open a gate leading to a walkway through the estate. However, gardai said the area could also be accessed by jumping over a high wall.
Supt O'Brien said the find was "as a result of ongoing garda intelligence in the whole area of organised crime and subversive activity. It was as a result of information we received. I don't want to be more specific than that," he said.