Police in Dublin have seized and disarmed a bomb discovered just hours before the Giro d'Italia finished in the Irish capital, the Irish Independent has revealed.
A car apparently contained a 50lb milk churn bomb in a car park near the Finnstown Country House hotel in Lucan, to the west of the city. The bomb was made from fertiliser, armed and ready for use with a timer attached.
While the intended target remains unclear, the bomb was seized just hours before the third stage of the Giro d'Italia between Armagh and Dublin. Hundreds of thousands of people lined the race route and packed the centre of Dublin to see the race.
According to the Irish Independent's security editor, Tom Brady, the device was likely intended for a target in Northern Ireland, and unrelated to the Grand Tour's appearance on Irish soil.
"It was a homemade, fertilizer-based bomb with all the components for detonation, except that the timer was not set," Brady said. "It's reckoned it contained about 30 kilos of fertilizer and other ingredients. That would have been enough to flatten a building.
"It's likely it was going to be collected there and brought to Northern Ireland for a security target in the North."
Security sources said that the device was disarmed by an Army Bomb Squad. It is understood that a Dublin man who was later arrested has close links to the Real IRA. Irish police located the device after receiving a tip-off, and a major security operation was launched.
A security source revealed to the Irish Independent that dissident Republicans may have been planning an attack, in the hope that it would be blamed on another terrorist group. Other sources suggested the bomb was more likely linked to a feud between dissident republicans and a local businessman.
"It cannot be ruled out that it may have been intended to disrupt the Giro d'Italia race. This would be a very dramatic escalation in the activities of dissident republicans," the Irish Independent reported the source as saying.