Detectives are investigating if a teenager was targeted in a reckless pipe bomb attack after being blamed for switching sides in the deadly Drogheda feud.
The Herald can reveal that a 17-year-old thug was the prime target of the attack when a viable explosive was planted on a gas line outside his home in the Moneymore estate on Tuesday night.
Several homes were evacuated and the Army's bomb squad were called out when the device was discovered shortly after 8pm.
An examination of the explosive established that it was a pipe bomb attached to a petrol canister and it was defused by Defence Force technicians before being removed from the scene.
Gardaí believe that if the device detonated it would have led to considerable damage and a loss of life.
They are now investigating whether a teenage criminal was targeted by his former associates in the Maguire faction after "jumping ship" to a rival mob.
Murder victim Keane Mulready Woods (17), who was abducted and dismembered in January, had also associated with both sides of the feud before his killing.
The target of Tuesday night's attack is being investigated for a separate petrol bombing on an innocent woman and her three young children last month.
"The information gardaí have at this time is that he has jumped ship and is working for the anti-Maguire faction," a source said.
"This is now being looked at as a primary line of inquiry in that he was targeted by his former associates within the Maguire gang.
"This was intended to do as much damage as possible, and if that gas line had ignited it would have not only destroyed the intended target's house but also many more homes on the road, and we would have been looking at fatalities here."
Members of the Defence Force's Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit were escorted by gardaí to the scene and following preliminary examinations, removed the device for further analysis.
No injuries were reported and gardaí in Drogheda are investigating the latest serious incident linked to the Drogheda feud.
Inquiries are also ongoing into the petrol bombing of a house in the St Laurences Park area of Drogheda on September 14.
A completely innocent family, including a 30-year-old mother and her three children all aged under ten, were forced to escape out of a first-floor window with the help of neighbours after a petrol bomb was thrown at the house.
Following this attack, sources told the Herald that gardaí were bracing for further violence in the town after receiving "credible intelligence" that associates of Owen Maguire intended on returning to Drogheda to carry out a fresh spate of attacks.