Bombings up 300pc as gang war rages in Dublin
The gang war between 'Fat' Freddie Thompson and a rival gang has been blamed for a 300pc increase in the use of bomb, grenades and explosive devices in Dublin.
Garda figures released yesterday show the extraordinary rise in the use of explosives.
Thompson has been involved in a feud with a rival drugs gang, the so-called Rastas and with INLA drugs gangs.
There were 24 incidents involving grenades, pipe bombs or other improvised devices in the Dublin area in 2007.
This year so far, there have been 76 such incidents.
While it is believed the INLA -- which is now mainly involved in drugs dealing and racketeering -- have been behind some of the more sophisticated devices, criminals have also tried to make their own bombs.
Some have been disguised in crisp packets and sweet tubes and gardai are concerned that innocent children could become victims of homemade devices.
Fine Gael's Justice spokesman, Charlie Flanagan said the increase was "very serious" and said that they are linked to dissident republicans now involved in the drugs trade.
"I would have to point the finger at former republicans who have moved from acts of terrorism into drugs and other illegal activities and are using these devices as a form of intimidation," said Mr Flanagan.
"The increase in these kinds of attacks is a very serious issue as some of them have been quite lethal and sophisticated and are being left in public places."
Mr Flanagan added that while the gardai and the army bomb disposal unit have had success so far in disabling many of the devices, the increased use of explosives by gangland criminals is sinister and to do with money and drugs.
"It makes sense that as they are increasing someone is going to get seriously hurt or maimed soon if this continues," he said.
So far this year the Irish Defence Force's Explosive Ordnance Device team attended 56 incidents and worked to disable the devices -- this compared to 17 call outs for the whole of last year.
The Republic's Department of Justice said it would not be helpful to comment on the specific details of garda operations but that the Garda Siochana was firmly focused on disrupting the criminal elements involved in all such activities and bringing them before the courts.
Thompson, meanwhile, is currently in hiding in Spain. He has left his elder brother, 'Little' Richie in charge in his absence.