An elite garda unit has seized two loaded handguns hidden in the back garden of a west Dublin criminal's home.
Three men remained in garda custody last night and were being quizzed over the gun bust in Clondalkin on Thursday night.
One of the men, a 21-year-old, previously survived an attempt on his life when he was shot in the head.
A 29-year-old man who was also arrested is considered a violent criminal heavily involved with a local organised gang.
Detectives recovered two loaded revolvers wrapped in clingfilm in the back garden of his Clondalkin home.
A third man, also in his 20s, is an associate of the older criminal.
A garda spokesman said the operation was targeting "organised criminal activity" in west Dublin.
At 6pm on Thursday, officers carried out a number of coordinated searches in Clondalkin.
The operation was led by detectives from Lucan and Ronanstown garda stations.
They were backed up by the Emergency Response Unit and Armed Support Unit because of the criminals being targeted in the investigation.
The three suspects are being held under the Offences Against the State Act.
The two loaded revolvers were made safe by gardai and will be sent to the garda Technical Bureau for a ballistics examination.
It will determine if the weapons have been used in any previous shootings.
"Two of the individuals are very close associates and have links to a number of different feuds in west Dublin," a source told the Herald.
"Gardai were acting on intelligence that they were in poss- ession of firearms and acted swiftly before they were used.
"It is part of an ongoing offensive against these criminals, who are heavily involved in organised crime in the area.
The 29-year-old was previously arrested during a policing crackdown on feuding gangs in the area.
He had been travelling with two other men in a stolen car on the M50 near Blanchardstown when they were stopped by armed gardai.
The operation last October was part of a special investigation following the attempted murder of a man in Clondalkin that month.
The 21-year-old previously survived an attempt on his life after being shot in the head.
A bullet was stuck in his skull, but despite the horrific injury he survived.
Since the attempted murder the young thug has been investigated by gardai inquiring into a number of crimes in the area.