A HOAX pipe bomb left at the north Dublin home of an innocent woman may be linked to a campaign of terror being led by a gangland enforcer who is serving a lengthy jail sentence.
Thomas 'Nicky' McConnell is sharing a cell with Carlos Byrne (27), who is serving life for stabbing a taxi driver 40 times on a Blanchardstown housing estate in March 2008.
The discovery of the sophisticated looking device at 10pm on Sunday led to homes at Shangan Road, Ballymun, being evacuated while the army bomb disposal team dealt with the situation.
Sources say gardai are now investigating whether the mob with which McConnell (27) is involved is responsible for placing the device at the property.
An assault on a petty criminal in the Shangan Road area of Ballymun yesterday afternoon is also being linked to McConnell's crew.
A senior source said: "Everyone knows McConnell has a major grudge against the people living in that house.
"The crew he is associated with is causing mayhem in the Ballymun and Finglas areas."
McConnell – whose elder brother was shot dead in a feud – is strongly linked to the crew led by slain Eamon 'The Don' Dunne. It is suspected of almost a dozen cash-in-transit and armed robberies in Dublin last year.
It is now feared that the gang plans a terror campaign in north Dublin, despite the fact that McConnell is locked up.
McConnell, who has more than 80 previous convictions, is serving five years for threatening to kill a woman as well as separate drugs offences.
Sunday night's hoax device was placed at the family home of Joanna Daly, from whom McConnell was charged with demanding money with menaces on three occasions.
Dublin Circuit Court previously heard that McConnell took a hammer out of the boot of his car during a dispute with Ms Daly because of a debt was owed to him by her son Glen.
The charges were dropped after McConnell pleaded guilty in April to threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Louise Sheridan in Ballymun on August 23, 2011.
Ballymun man McConnell initially denied the charge, but pleaded guilty after a four-day trial.
Judge Patricia Ryan sentenced him to six years with three suspended and ordered that he have no contact with the injured party for 30 years.
He was also sentenced to two years for having the head shop drug Snow Blow for sale or supply at his home on October 12, 2010.
The drugs were found during a search of McConnell's house and had an estimated street value of €16,164.
The drug was criminalised prior to the offence and he was on bail on this count when he threatened Ms Sheridan.
The murder of his brother Ian is said to have had a devastating effect on 'Nicky', who has a tattoo in honour of him.
Ian McConnell (28) was shot at close range in the back of the head at a Ballymun tower block in Dublin on December 11, 2005.
In February 2007, Stephen Kelly (27) of Balcurris Road in Ballymun was convicted of the murder.
As the jury delivered its verdict, Kelly rose to his feet and shouted, "Shut the f*** up" at members of the McConnell family, including 'Nicky.'