Wednesday 21 November 2018

Father and son 'sent bomb to social worker over personal grudge'

Cloverhill Prison, where the 20-year-old son was arrested
Cloverhill Prison, where the 20-year-old son was arrested

Ken Foy

A father and son are suspected of sending a potentially deadly explosive device to a social worker's home.

Sources say it is believed the pair had previous dealings with the woman, who works with Tusla, the State's Child and Family Agency, and harboured a "deep personal grudge".

"The bomb that was sent to her was viable and complex and definitely had the potential to cause serious injury and even death," a source said.

Gardai expect to send a file on the case to the DPP within weeks.

Threatening

When the bomb, hidden in a vacuum cleaner box, was found after the package was delivered to the women's place of work in November, it was suspected that there was a gangland element to the crime.

But sources say gardai are satisfied that the father and son, from Portlaoise, are behind the incident.

The package contained fireworks, a detonation system and wiring. A threatening note was attached to the "highly complex" device.

Sources said gardai and military experts have rarely seen such an elaborate bomb.

A massive joint investigation involving detectives from Carlow and Laois began after the discovery of the device.

The father and son were arrested in May in a secret operation which involved a number of searches and the seizure of devices such as mobile phones and laptops.

They were questioned on suspicion of explosives crimes under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.

The son, who is 20, is said to have "major form" for criminal behaviour, was arrested at Cloverhill Prison.

He was questioned at Thomastown Garda Station in Co Kilkenny for a number of hours before being sent back to jail, where he was being detained for separate offences.

His father was arrested at his Portlaoise home and detained at Carlow Garda Station before being released without charge.

Sources have revealed that the pair have a "deep personal grudge" against the social worker because of her work.

Gardai are not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident and do not expect to make any more arrests.

The DPP is expected to make a decision on what action is to be taken in the case before the end of the year.

"You would not call these fellas criminal masterminds or anything like that but what they are suspected of is obviously very serious and a lot of man hours have gone into this investigation," a source said last night.

As part of their investigation, gardai have followed a number of different leads and carried out a huge trawl of CCTV footage in Dublin as well as a number of midlands towns.

"As part of her work as a senior social worker, this woman has had to interface with criminality as part of her job," a source said.

Wiring

After the bomb was delivered to the social worker's place of work on November 16, she placed it in the boot of her car and drove for more than half an hour to an event attended by a large group of children.

It was only when she arrived at this event that she gave the vacuum cleaner box a further examination.

It is understood she noticed wiring and became suspicious.

She placed it on the ground at the venue's car park and gardai were contacted.

They arrived and inspected it, then advised everyone to evacuate, including dozens of young children.

A bomb disposal team was called and spent an hour examining the device before declaring it viable and carrying out a controlled explosion.

Herald

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