GARDAI in Co. Longford have been put on red alert after intelligence surfaced that gangsters were planning an acid attack on rival gang members as well as officiating gardai in court.
Officers have in the past year been dealing with five feuding gangs in the area and have been carrying out 24/7 armed patrols since June.
At the request of a judge, security precautions have been beefed up by gardai at two district courts in Co. Longford in light of the "extremely dangerous" situation.
"Intelligence came in that this was going to be the latest tactic. Gardaí were made aware of a threat by a senior player in one of the gangs that acid was to be thrown on the face of his rivals," a source told the Irish Independent.
"The threat suggested gardaí could also be targeted and that this would happen at a district court sitting when a lot of protagonists in the feud would be in the same location.
"The information was that women would be enlisted to carry the acid in a bottle in their handbags and then throw it in the face of their targets which would of course cause life-changing injuries.
"Of course this is an extremely dangerous situation, but gardaí are on top of it as much as they can be."
To combat the threat, gardai have enlisted the help of an experienced team of detectives, as well as one of Ireland's most proactive policing units.
Since doing so, gardaí have introduced various counter-measures to quell gang rivalry wherever they can, including armed checkpoints, bail curfew checks and undercover operations.
They've made 26 arrests since June for offences including stabbings, possession of firearms, assault, drugs use and public order offences.
The five rival gangs are thought to originate from neighbouring Traveller communities who have close link to one another.