A REAL IRA suspect who is the grandson of a highly respected Dublin politician is being investigated in relation to the murder of notorious drugs trafficker The Panda.
The 20-year-old is still in garda custody today after he was arrested in a car with a loaded Glock handgun by heavily armed members of the Special Detective Unit in Coolock on Monday evening.
Sources say that the suspect is a key associate of two notorious brothers from nearby Donaghmede who control the Real IRA in Dublin.
These men are suspected of organising the gun murder of Michael 'Micka' Kelly aka 'The Panda' in Clonshaugh last September.
And officers are now probing whether the young man caught with the glock had some kind of "peripheral role" in the slaying.
However the suspect was not one of four dissident Republicans who were arrested in February by gardai investigating Kelly's death.
The arrest of the 20-year-old has devastated his politician grandfather who is understood to have had no idea that the young man was mixing with notorious terrorist suspects.
The suspect is currently in Blanchardstown Garda Station and is expected to face charges at the Special Criminal Court.
He is being questioned about possession of a firearm and ammunition as well as membership of an illegal organisation.
A number of follow-up searches took place in north Dublin after the man's arrest.
Detectives swooped on the man at a time when there is a bitter feud within the Real IRA in which the Donaghmede brothers are determined to wipe out close associates of their former pal David Dodrill who was recently expelled from the terror group.
Former taxi driver Dodrill (31) was jailed for six years in April for extorting €250,000 from a chip-shop owner.
Dodrill of Plunkett Avenue, Finglas, was recently kicked out of the Real IRA because the Donaghmede-based leaders of the crew were unaware of his extortion racket.
Separately, sources say that the Real IRA have stepped up their campaign of extortion against local drug dealers, with a former builder from Kilbarrack heavily involved in beating up heroin dealers.
The Herald has previously revealed that the Real IRA have got "the upper hand" after a bitter dispute with a major organised crime gang from Coolock controlled by the criminal nicknamed 'Mr Big' who has been forced to flee to Spain after being threatened by them.