A MAN who was caught with a firearm had what has been described as a "useless weapon" for his own protection, the Herald can reveal.
The man, who is originally from the Cabra area, has been under death threat since he was involved in a savage assault on a veteran criminal in Dublin's south inner city in August.
The incident resulted in a round of revenge attacks by the OAP criminal.
The 33-year-old was busted at around 12.15am yesterday when eagled-eyed officers from Finglas Garda Station noticed that he was acting suspiciously shortly after he left a local pub.
When they searched him, officers found a weapon which is understood to be a starting pistol with a silencer attached to it as well as two rounds of blank ammunition.
"This was not a real gun that he had, but it looked very real. This man is under threat and may have had the weapon to scare people off if he was approached," a senior source explained.
"It is like a starting pistol - it would not be capable of killing anyone."
After the south inner city assault, the man was forced to live in hotels and even fled abroad for a time because there were major fears that he would be attacked by the veteran criminal's gangland associates.
The veteran Crumlin criminal had bleeding on his brain when he was first admitted to the hospital, which is located close to where he was attacked.
His condition was first classified as critical but he has since made a good recovery.
After the incident, his associates smashed up a number of houses in the south inner city which they considered were linked to the man who was arrested yesterday morning.
The suspect, who has a number of previous convictions, was expected to be released from garda custody in Finglas and a file will be prepared for the DPP.