Gardai are investigating claims that a number of innocent female relatives of a suspect linked to the murder of Keane Mulready-Woods have been threatened and harassed.
The women have been singled out as targets for no other reason than their blood ties to a man who is believed to have facilitated the teenager's killing, according to sources.
The threats have caused enormous distress to those directly affected and unease in the wider community, local sources said.
Keane (17) was abducted, tortured and dismembered at a house in Drogheda, Co Louth, on January 12. Over the following days, his limbs were found in a sports bag in a Dublin housing estate, and his severed head and other body parts were discovered in a burning car. His torso has never been found.
The boy's murder is believed to be connected to the gangland feud in Drogheda that has now claimed three lives.
The repercussions from the killing have heightened tensions among the different crime factions and led to unprecedented levels of policing in the town.
At least seven people suspected of involvement or having knowledge of the murder have disappeared, to escape retribution or the intense garda investigation.
Gardai made the first arrests in the case last week. Two men were arrested in Drogheda and are thought to be mid-ranking members of the gang believed responsible for the murder. One is a 51-year-old man who is suspected of providing "logistical support" for the killing.
The second suspect arrested is in his 30s and is believed to have a drug addiction. He recently served a lengthy jail sentence. Both men were still being questioned by gardai last night.
It is understood that Christy Mangan, the Chief Superintendent for the Louth Division, had attempted to mediate directly with the warring gangs in the recent past. However, such is the level of enmity and bloodshed, and the number of crime factions now drawn into the feud, that both sides are "beyond mediation", an informed source said.
Chief Supt Mangan is expected to speak about the problem of drug addiction, drug debt intimidation and the exploitation of young people by crime gangs at an addiction conference tomorrow.
The Family Addiction Support Network is holding 'Stop the Stigma' day in Dundalk to encourage families and people affected by addiction to seek help.
Other speakers will include Bishop Michael Router, who attempted to reach out to the crime factions and reiterated his offer to act as mediator after Keane's murder.
At the boy's funeral earlier this month, Fr Phil Gaffney said he hoped his death would be "a warning to other young teenagers who are being groomed by the ruthless criminals, that the promise of money and gifts will inevitably end in tragedy".