Gardaí are fearful of a split within Sinn Féin-IRA should Thomas “Slab” Murphy be jailed for tax evasion in the New Year following his conviction last week.
The decision by the Garda to pursue Murphy and of the DPP to approve charges against him and recommend the non-jury Special Criminal Court for his trial has incensed Murphy and those close to him.
Gardaí believe the faction loyal to Murphy in the borderlands of north Louth and into south Armagh is already at odds with Sinn Féin-IRA in Belfast loyal to Gerry Adams.
The growing rift, which has the potential to split the movement and damage it electorally, is the reason why Mr Adams, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and other party figures have publicly supported Murphy and criticised his conviction.
The borderlands group has not only been angered by the fact Murphy has been tried and convicted, but that this has happened at a time when Sinn Féin has given its full support to the launch of a Garda-PSNI taskforce in recent days.