Declan ‘Fat Deccy’ Smith – a key henchman of Alan Ryan – was shot over the weekend in what is viewed as a stark warning to others.
Gardai are braced for more bloodshed as shootings, kneecappings and severe beatings are doled out to once high-ranking members of the Dublin branch of the organisation,
It is thought that Smith (30) was blasted in the leg by a former pal in Saggart, Co Dublin, at around 1am on Saturday.
He is still recovering at Tallaght Hospital.
A man arrested in the aftermath of the shooting – a dissident republican suspect also from the North – is still being questioned today at Lucan Garda Station.
A senior source told the Herald that the shooting is directly linked to the IRA “clean-up drive” in which many of Ryan's associates are expected to be expelled from the organisation.
IRA bosses in the North have ordered the “weeding out” of members who they deem to be a risk to the operation.
Gardai are braced for chaos, with splinter groups forming as the mob's Northern-based leadership tries to exert control over the gang that has been in disarray since Ryan's murder.
The Herald has been briefed on internal plans to remove a number of those who were close to Ryan, with a chilling hitlist of 13 Dublin-based gangsters.
A high-level dissident source said that more figures in the Dublin area will be removed as they are deemed “too much of a risk”.
“We were shocked when we came down and saw the type of s*** that Ryan had running the show. They are nothing short of rabble,” the source said.
The gang’s Dublin-based members have been ordered to abandon their extortion activities in the north inner city. The attack on Smith follows the shooting of alleged Real IRA man Nathan Kinsella last November. Kinsella was kneecapped despite being a close friend of murdered Real IRA boss Alan Ryan, who was assassinated in September last year.
It is understood Ryan was on his way to see Declan Smith when he was gunned down in Clongriffin, north Dublin.
Following Ryan's death, Smith attempted to take over the Real IRA's operations but ended up being kicked out of the organisation within weeks.
Some of Smith's associates are wanted for questioning by the PSNI about the murders of Edward Burns (36) and Joe Jones (38).
The pair, who were members of the Continuity IRA in Belfast, were killed within an hour of each other in March 2007.