TWO suspected members of an organised crime gang have been arrested by Gardai after shots were fired at officers and a couple of patrol cars damaged today.
Senior officers believe the suspects are linked to the gang responsible for carrying out a gun attack on a garda station in Carbury, north Kildare, and issuing death threats against the staff there.
The leader of the gang is a notorious drug dealer, originally from Dublin but now living in north Kildare.
The shots were fired around 1am when armed gardai attempted to stop a BMW car at around 1am.
Following a planned operation, members of the Emgerency Response Unit, backed up by local divisional and regional units, tried to intercept the vehicle at Clonmoyle, between Rathangan and Monasterevin in county Kildare.
A shotgun was fired at the officers and a number of cars were damaged as gardai pursued the fleeing vehicle.
The car was brought to a halt a short distance and the shotgun was recovered at the scene.
Two men, in their mid 20s, were arrested. They are both from Edenderry, Co Offaly.
Gardai say the men are suspected of acting as "enforcers" for the organised crime gang and are well known thugs.
Nobody was injured in the incident and gardai did not return fire.
The car, which was not stolen, was taken away for forensic examination and road diversions were put in place for several hours while a search of the scene was carried out.
Over the past couple of months local gardai, backed up by the national support services, have been carrying out a special operation combating organised crime in counties Kildare and Offaly.
This operation was stepped up after a shotgun was fired at the garda station in Carbury, while it was unoccupied.
A window in the station was shattered in the blast and an attempt was made to set the station on fire.
But damage was confined to an area around the window and the station was re-opened the next morning.
Six uniformed officers, based in Carbury station, received official notice from garda management that they had intelligence indicating that their lives were being threatened.
The same gang is also believed to have been responsible for a previous arson attack on the station in 2009.
After the recent incident, Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan met with local management to review progress with gardai inquiries.
Today's arrests were described today as a significant development in their investigation.