Gardaí in Co Clare are investigating the discovery of an imitation handgun in a house set alight in a suspected arson attack in the early hours of yesterday.
Gardaí and fire crews were alerted to a house fire in Clarecastle, Co Clare, at about 4.45am.
Two units of the fire brigade and an ambulance from Ennis were tasked to the scene amid fears there were people trapped inside.
Firefighters quickly set about tacking the blaze while other personnel commenced a search of the house.
The property, occupied by settled Travellers, was empty at the time of the attack.
The blaze was brought under control but not before substantial fire damage was caused to the ground floor. The upstairs of the house was damaged by smoke. It is believed the fire was started in the kitchen area.
After the fire had been dealt with, firefightersfound what appeared to be a handgun in the kitchen.
Gardaí removed the object but it is understood the pistol was an imitation, and possibly an air gun.
Gardaí preserved the scene overnight until a forensic examination could be carried out.
Just hours earlier, a car was damaged in an incident in Ennis.
Gardaí are investigating the two incidents and another at the same house in Clarecastle last week.
Last Tuesday night, a number of masked men armed with slash hooks and other weapons, attacked the property and a car.
Neighbours watched in horror as the incident unfolded. While the house is understood to have been occupied at the time, the gang fled after they smashed several windows in the house.
The incidents are understood to be connected with an ongoing feud involving two families.
Following the Tuesday night attack, members of Garda Armed Regional Support Unit were called in to assist local officers.
Locals in the area have already called for people involved in the feuding to be moved out of the village.
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