A successful professional who was linked to murdered drug dealer Robbie Lawlor applied for a job in the Criminal Assets Bureau, raising concerns among senior gardai, according to informed sources.
The woman is believed to have applied for the administrative post before the criminal's assassination last month.
She did not get the job but her interest in the position has been raised at the highest levels of An Garda Siochana because of concerns about the potential security breach that would have been posed.
The woman is believed to have driven the drug dealer to Belfast on the day that he was gunned down in the garden of a house in an estate in Ardoyne. She was not with him when he was shot but later travelled to the city to identify his body, according to informed sources.
She has since been drawn into a nightmare scenario in which she has been intimidated and her life is under threat. Gardai have warned her of an alleged death threat issued by a rival faction in the Drogheda gangs feud. Her association with Lawlor has surprised people in security services. The woman has no involvement in crime and is well respected in her profession and in her community.
When the woman applied for the post with the CAB, the gardai were not aware of any link to Lawlor, which only came to their attention closer to his murder.
The matter has been raised at a senior level with An Garda Siochana and will likely be brought to the attention of the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.
It is not clear when the woman began to associate with Robbie Lawlor (36), a long-standing criminal who just five months ago was cleared of charges of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and attempting to murder her new partner's mother.
He later became a key suspect in the savage killing of 17-year-old Keane Mulready-Woods in January this year.
Lawlor has been linked to a string of violent crimes including two previous gangland murders. He has been drawn into the warring factions in the Drogheda feud.
His most vicious crime was to order the murder of the teenager, who was tortured stabbed and whose body was dismembered.
The day after the teen was reported missing by his family, part of his remains were found in a sports bag that had been thrown from a dark coloured car. Two days later gardai were called to the scene of a burning car in Drumcondra in which his head and hands were later found.
The woman is believed to have travelled to Belfast with Robbie Lawlor. It is understood that the woman had no idea what the real purpose of the criminal's visit to Belfast was.
She later travelled to the city to identify his body, according to informed sources.
Security sources believe the drug dealer travelled to Belfast to collect payment of a debt and that he took with him members of the McCarthy-Dundon gang who travelled across the Border independently.
Gardai believe his former allies used the opportunity to set up Lawlor to be shot. When he arrived at the meeting point Lawlor was shot several times at close range in the front garden of a house at around 11.50am.
After Lawlor's death, two women were stopped by gardai in Portlaoise. Gardai seized €50,000 in cash which was believed to be payment for the hit. Both women were released without charge.