Motorway shut after discovery of bomb and loaded Glock
A North Dublin criminal gang are behind the two suspected pipe bombs and a fully-loaded glock found by gardai last night.
The gang - headed up by a well-known criminal - ordered the explosives and loaded gun to be transported to them in Dublin.
However, their plans were foiled after the car transporting the gun and bombs was stopped on the M7 motorway, en route to the capital.
The discovery was made shortly before 6pm last night when the vehicle was pulled over and searched near Mountrath in Co Laois.
A man aged in his 40s and a second man, in his late teens, were arrested at the scene.
Both men, believed to be Polish nationals, are currently detained under section 30 of the Offences against the State Act, 1939 at Portlaoise Garda Station.
They can be held for up to 72 hours.
Upon making the discovery, the motorway was immediately shut and the scene was preserved.
An Army Bomb Disposal Unit was soon dispatched to the scene to make it safe.
An examination of the devices will be conducted to determine if they were viable.
The gang, who are believed to have ordered the transport of the explosives and glock, are headed up by a man who has 80 previous convictions and is considered "a rising figure" in gangland Dublin.
The criminal, who can't be named for legal reasons, has served a number of jail terms -his previous convictions include threatening to kill a woman and drug-dealing offences.
Separately, he has been at the centre of another threat-to -kill probe.
Although not believed to be directly involved in the escalating feud between the Kinahan cartel and associates of Gary Hutch, the criminal moves in the same circles.
The gang boss is "not on the same level" as the two feuding gangs and does not have the same resources, sources say, but he is known to both sides.
It is not believed the criminal is involved in any dispute with either side.
However, there is a little doubt that he planned to put the weapons and explosives to use once he got them.
The discovery of the bombs and weapon comes as tensions in the city remain high following the murders of David Byrne (34) in the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra, and the retaliatory murder of innocent taxi driver Eddie Hutch Snr (59) at his home in Poplar Row, Ballybough in Dublin's north inner city.
Armed garda units are still patrolling the capital's streets in a bid to keep simmering tensions between both sides under control.