DUBLIN's top Real IRA boss has been cleared to work as bouncer -- despite having a terrorist conviction.
The criminal, who was jailed for three years after engaging in Real IRA activities, is on the latest official list of approved security workers.
The man, in his mid 30s, is a leader of the Real IRA unit which has been extorting money from Dublin's leading drug gangs and trying to assume control of pub security in the capital.
The group has claimed responsibility for the murders of Collie Owens (34) and low-level drug dealer Sean Winters (40) in Dublin earlier this year.
This terrorist and his associates are involved in a pub protection racket across the capital, which they are using to control the supply of drugs in the city.
"Whoever controls the doors controls the drugs and that's a lot of money," a senior garda said.
A source told the Herald: "They are heavily involved in racketeering, extorting money off anyone and everyone.
"They have become a major nuisance for law enforcement and are capable of serious violence."
The terrorist runs the north Dublin Real IRA cell with a close associate, who was also jailed for terrorist activities.
The Herald has learned that despite his republican past, the Real IRA figure appears on the most recent register for individual licence holders, published last November.
A spokeswoman from the Private Security Authority confirmed to the Herald that the individual had been cleared by gardai to work as a doorman.
"The register shows an entry for a licence holder, who is licensed in the Door Supervisor (Licensed Premises) sector matching the information [provided by the Herald]," she said.
"The Private Security Authority provides a register of licence holders which is available on our website.
"All licence holders are vetted by An Garda Siochana and the results assessed against the Authority's Criminality Guidelines, a copy of which is available on our website."
The guidelines provide that when a person with a criminal conviction is trying to obtain a licence, there are certain issues which are taken into account.
These include the nature and seriousness of the offence(s) involved, the length of time since completion of sentence, overall interests of the public good and the relationship of the crime to the purpose of requiring a licence
The RIRA boss's conviction came soon after the 1998 Omagh bombing. A total of 29 people were killed and more than 200 injured in the greatest atrocity of the Troubles.
The Real IRA gang which is headed by the licensed doorman and an associate from north Dublin reportedly extorted over €400,000 from Dublin drug dealers last year.