THERE are fears of a fresh gangland bloodbath in the capital after it emerged that two of Ireland's most notorious criminals are at war with each other in a bitter money dispute.
The north Dublin mob which is led by the so-called 'Mr Big' of Irish crime is at serious loggerheads with a drug dealing crew in which Greg Lynch (29) is a senior member.
Gardai foiled an attempted hit on Lynch shortly before Christmas when officers arrested Mr Big (31) and one of his closest associates at James Street, close to Lynch's home.
Since then Mr Big has been locked up in jail on separate charges but there are still major concerns that his gang could target Lynch, which would have the potential to cause a new gangland feud in Dublin.
Mr Big's gang are suspected of carrying out the murder of Real IRA terror chief Alan Ryan in September and are considered one of the capital's most dangerous crews, with a traditional stronghold in the Coolock and Darndale areas.
Lynch's stronghold is in south inner city Dublin but he also has links to parts of north Dublin which sources say brought him into conflict with Mr Big's crew.
Both criminals have been warned by gardai that there are active threats against their lives.
A source said: "These are two very serious gangs. Specialist units such as the garda's Organised Crime Unit, Criminal Assets Bureau and National Criminal Intelligence Unit have been keeping tabs on these gangs now for a considerable period of time.
"These two criminals are long term targets of the anti gang legislation introduced in 2010."
Lynch's mob was a prime target for Operation Wireless – a special garda operation last September in which 18 suspected gangsters were arrested after officers carried out 50 raids.
Officers from various national and regional units swooped on the suspects in a co-ordinated series of raids. Three of Lynch's closest associates were picked up in the raids.
Lynch was aged just 19 when he was jailed for six years in 2004 after he was caught handing over €400,000 of heroin in the car-park of the Red Cow Inn at Naas Road, Dublin.
He was arrested following a surveillance operation by officers from the Garda National Drug Unit.
Lynch's rival Mr Big – who cannot be named here for legal reasons – comes from a respectable middle class background and is well educated.
But he has been striking fear into the underworld for years and controls a vast patch of drug territory stretching from Clontarf all the way up to Drogheda, Co Louth.