A MAN suspected of manufacturing and supplying pipe bombs to criminal gangs and dissident republican terrorists is being questioned by gardai.
Armed officers arrested the suspect in an intelligence-led raid on a halting site on the northside of Dublin yesterday.
The alleged bomb supplier, who is in his late 20s, was taken to Coolock garda station for questioning.
He was being held last night under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act, which allowed gardai to detain him without charge for up to three days. Two viable pipe bombs were found in a disused outhouse on the site that is near the junction of the N32 and the Malahide Road in the Northern Cross area close to Coolock.
An Army bomb-disposal team was called in by the gardai and during a two-hour operation they dealt with the devices without a controlled explosion.
The remnants of the devices were later handed over to the garda technical bureau for forensic examination.
The garda raid was carried out by officers from the Dublin North division, backed up by personnel from the Special Branch, the Emergency Response Unit, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigations and air-support units.
Four shotguns and a quantity of ammunition were also seized during the raid, which was part of an ongoing crackdown on criminal gangs that have been operating in the greater Dublin area in recent months and followed a recent round up of suspected thugs.
It was launched shortly after the murder of Real IRA boss Alan Ryan, who was gunned down in Clongriffin on the northside last month by a crime gang, which has members active on both sides of the city.
Yesterday's operation is believed to be directly linked to a number of incidents in the Coolock and Darndale areas last Thursday night and Friday morning.
Two pipe bombs were left at houses, while shots were fired into a third home. Gardai believe members of a local drugs gang were involved in the attacks.
Officers in Dublin and surrounding counties have also been carrying out inquiries for several months to identify those behind the manufacturing and supply of pipe bombs.
A big upsurge in the use of the improvised devices by criminal gangs is causing increasing concern to the authorities and in one incident in Wicklow a schoolboy sustained serious injuries when he picked up a pipe bomb, left beside his front door, as he was about to cycle to school.
Gardai believe there are a number of suppliers and that the suspect has been involved for some time.