NewsCrime Desk

Children and elderly woman fortunate after pipe bomb explodes under van in Dublin

Gardai say nobody has been arrested in connection with the incident
Gardai say nobody has been arrested in connection with the incident

Children and a woman in her 70s escaped injury when a pipe bomb exploded under a van outside a Balbriggan house at the weekend.

The incident happened on the Hampton Green estate in north Dublin shortly before 3.30am on Sunday, when residents reported hearing a loud bang and seeing smoke coming from beneath a vehicle parked in the driveway of a house.

Members of one of the country's most dangerous gangs are the chief suspects in the attack.

The targets of the bomb attack are related to a man who was shot dead by the gang last year.

The Herald previously revealed that the targets were warned by the mob that they had to leave their Balbriggan home or face being killed earlier this year by a crazed gang boss.

The gang are also the chief suspects in the suspected murders of Willie Maughan (34) and his partner Anna Varslavane (21), who were last seen in the Gormanston area of Co Meath on the afternoon of April 14.

No-one was injured in the incident and no arrests have yet been made in the attack, which gardai said was "an incident involving an explosive".

The Army bomb squad was not called to the scene to carry out post-bomb analysis, but forensic gardai examined the scene on Sunday morning.

The pipe bomb attack is the second in less than two months that the ruthless mob are suspected of carrying out in Dublin.

It has emerged that the gang boss suspected of being behind the suspected murders and bomb attacks has been involved in a "terrifying campaign of intimidation" against some close associates of Mr Maughan.

This includes a pipe bomb attack at the home of Mr Maughan's sister Martina, in Rathfarnham, in October.

However, Sunday's events are linked to a different dispute.

Gardai have been closely monitoring the activities of the gang and such is the level of concern about the mob, that the heavily armed Emergency Response Unit (ERU) have been drafted in to tackle them.

Last Friday, ERU officers arrested a 31-year-old criminal with close links to the mob in a raid in Ardee, Co Louth, and brought him to Balbriggan Garda Station.

He was questioned about threats and intimidation he is suspected of being involved in against witnesses in an upcoming trial.

A close associate of the arrested man is already in custody for similar offences after he was arrested earlier this month.

Last week, the Herald revealed that another close pal of that man was arrested for dangerous driving after he attempted to ram an ERU jeep off the road in Drogheda, Co Louth.

Ken Foy