ANTI-TERRORIST police investigating the 60lb bomb found in a Dublin hotel car park are probing whether there is a link with a former member of the Provisional IRA army council.
Gardai and the PSNI are collaborating in their investigation into the bomb which was found at the Finnstown House hotel in Lucan, west Dublin, on Saturday night.
The bomb, found inside a beer keg in the back of a car, was intended for use against a security force target in Northern Ireland, officers believe.
The car was left with its doors unlocked and gardai believe it had been left for collection.
Gardai evacuated 330 guests from the hotel shortly after 11pm as the army began their operation on the bomb. The guests left the premises for more than five hours before the scene was declared safe.
An initial examination indicated that the device contained 50lb of fertiliser packed into a milk churn but it has since transpired that there were 66 pounds, or 30kg, of ammonium nitrate fertiliser and sugar.
It was also fitted with a timer - but this was destroyed in explosions carried out by an army bomb disposal team.
The area was not declared safe until around 3.30am on Sunday, when the army handed over the device to the gardai for technical examination.
Gardai said last night that the bomb could have flattened a building and caused death and serious injury.
Officers received an anonymous call about a bomb being left in the hotel car park and quickly located the black VW Passat car in the grounds of Finnstown House. The car had been left unlocked.
Detectives believe that it had been left there for collection and was due to have been taken across the border in the following few hours.
Subsequent inquiries by the gardai and the PSNI suggested the possible link between the bomb and the former senior Provisional IRA activist, who had been a member of the organisation’s ruling army council.
The man is well-known to police on both sides of the Border, and has served a jail sentence in the past. However, officers stressed that the investigation was still at an early stage.
Meanwhile, as a result of follow up inquiries in the Lucan area, gardai detained a man in his 50s and he was taken to Lucan garda station for questioning.
Officers confirmed last that the man is not suspected of any link to the bomb.
The man is being questioned about suspected membership of an illegal organisation and is being held under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.