A NOTORIOUS IRA godfather is lying low in his plush Dublin home after walking free from prison.
Barry Fitzpatrick (70) is back on the streets after being locked up for almost three years for membership of the terrorist organisation.
Detectives are on high alert given the pensioner's reputation in the criminal network.
He was considered the chief enforcer in the Dun Laoghaire branch of the Provisional IRA before being jailed in February 2011.
Detectives are now keeping a close watch on his movements and believe that he is keeping a low profile in his Foxrock home.
Gardai have already gathered intelligence that suggests that a number of dissident figures are terrified now that Fitzpatrick is a free man.
One is a shadowy figure known as 'The Businessman', who is believed to be living in fear of Fitzpatrick.
The gang boss operates an extortion racket in Co Wicklow and is well known to gardai.
'The Businessman' is a close associate of murdered Real IRA boss Alan Ryan and used to work in Dun Laoghaire, where he encountered Fitzpatrick.
Sources say that 'The Businessman' has now gone into hiding.
"Whether he has reason to believe he is under threat or not, 'The Businessman' is terrified that Fitzpatrick is back out on streets. This situation is being kept under very close scrutiny," said a senior source.
Fitzpatrick was expelled from the criminal organisation following a feud with his associates and embedded himself among some of the breakaway factions.
The father-of-eight has three addresses in the capital – one in Foxrock and two in Ballybrack.
Sources fear Fitzpatrick will take advantage of the current clean-up operation taking place in the Real IRA and target whose who he believes have crossed him.
Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Kirwan, of Security and Intelligence, told the Special Criminal Court in December 2010 that he believed Fitzpatrick was an IRA member based on confidential information given to him.
The officer said Fitzpatrick had come to his attention 'at every rank' of his 33-year garda career.
A trial heard how Fitzpatrick was arrested shortly after 10pm on the night of January 4, 2009, as he tried to gain access to an apartment at the Ramparts complex in Loughlinstown, Dublin.
For several hours before his arrest, detectives had observed Fitzpatrick drive his grey Honda Accord estate between the Silver Tassie pub in Dublin 18 and the Ramparts apartment complex with two men.
He also drove in convoy and communicated with a green Honda Civic car, which was later stopped and searched by members of the Special Detective Unit and found to contain two ME .38 Sportwaffen revolvers and ammunition.
Detective Garda Bronagh Brogan told the court that, as she arrived to execute a search warrant on an apartment at the Ramparts at 10pm, a man emerged carrying a hold-all.
It was found to contain five revolvers identical to the kind uncovered during the search of the green Honda Civic car.