'Pipebombs made by gang with links to Traveller feud'

Ken Foy, Crime correspondent

FOUR viable pipebombs discovered by gardai in north Dublin are linked to a very close associate of murdered gangland brothers John Paul and Tommy Joyce.

THE unsophisticated, but lethal, bombs were discovered at an abandoned car park off the Malahide Road near the Grove Lane halting site yesterday.

The Herald has learned that the chief suspect for manufacturing the bombs previously suffered injuries when he blew himself up while attempting to make bombs in a caravan.

Sources say that gardai are investigating if yesterday's haul was destined for a Traveller mob who are engaged in a bitter feud with another family in north Dublin.

"It is a very significant haul and there was a major search operation in the area which lasted for over two hours," said a source.

"Most likely the bombs were left at the waste ground location so that they could be collected or delivered at a later stage," the source added.

A previous Herald investigation revealed that pipebombs were being sold for €100.

We revealed that a number of Traveller families -- based mostly in the northside of Dublin -- are running pipebomb factories in which "crude but deadly" bombs are being manufactured.

It is understood that the main priority of yesterday's operation was one of these facilities.

Figures released to the Herald show that some 53 of the 96 viable improvised explosive devices (IEDs) dealt with nationwide last year were discovered in the Dublin region.

A number of garda searches have focused on a halting site at Northern Close in Darndale, which has been raided at least four times in recent months.

Officers were targeting a suspected pipebomb factory and discovered a number of viable devices. A number of arrests have been made.

Crime brothers Tommy and John Paul Joyce were murdered just seven months apart.

Tommy was gunned down at his family's halting site at Grove Lane in Coolock, Dublin, on the evening of June 17, 2009.

John Paul Joyce was last seen alive on the night of Thursday, January 7, 2010. His body was found two days later in a flooded ditch near Dublin Airport -- he had been shot.