A female assassin who was caught with bullets in her handbag as she was on the way to carry out a second murder in a fortnight holds the key to smashing the Continuity IRA terror organisation.
The Limerick woman, who has admitted murdering David Darcy (39) outside his home in Cherry Orchard, Ballyfermot, last month, has been in garda custody since being arrested by heavily armed detectives last Thursday night.
Gardai believe that she was on her way to murder another Cherry Orchard man who lives close to dad-of-two Mr Darcy (pictured) when she was intercepted by gardai.
Three people, including the woman, remain in garda custody as officers try to keep a lid on what sources describe as “the most dangerous feud to emerge in years.”
Well over 100 gardai are working around the clock to keep a lid on the bitter gang war which started when Continuity IRA member Liam Kenny was shot dead at his Clondalkin home in June.
“If this goes to plan gardai will be able to destroy the entire CIRA network in the country,” said a source.
Liam Kenny's associates blamed one of Ireland's most senior crime lords for his murder as well as the non-fatal gun attack on Kenny's close associate Frank Nolan in Ballyfermot in September.
The crime lord at war with the CIRA is aged in his 50s and is based in Ballyfermot. He controls the illegal cigarette trade in Ireland and has made millions of euro from smuggling cigarettes into Ireland.
In an upsurge in tensions, the CIRA planted a huge bomb outside his Ballyfermot home last week but it is understood that weather conditions prevented the bomb from exploding.
It is understood that the crime lord discovered the bomb and disposed of it himself.
Gardai also learnt of a plot by the CIRA to blow up a car owned by one of the crimelord's closest associates.
A source explained: “This is a very serious situation – the levels of hatred here are quite astonishing.
“The CIRA have declared war on the Ballyfermot man – they accuse him of being a drug dealer. They shot David Darcy because they say that Darcy is linked to this man.
“They say that Darcy provided information that led to the murder of Liam Kenny.”
The Herald has learnt that the gang boss is furious that the CIRA mob would try to target him in a bomb attack and he has taken extra security precautions.
It has emerged that a handgun and a shotgun were used to murder David Darcy and these weapons have been recovered by gardai.
As well as the female assassin, gardai are continuing to question her boyfriend.
He is a 44-year-old senior Continuity IRA figure from Mullhuddart, west Dublin, who has previously served a four year sentence for membership of the dissident republican group.
Also in custody today is another man from Mulhuddart who officers believe provided “logistical support” for the Darcy murder.