GARDAI tried to warn a notorious dissident republican gangster that there was an imminent threat against his life just hours before a gunman blasted him in the face outside a north Dublin crèche.
Declan 'Fat Deccy' Smith (31) continues to cling to life in Beaumont Hospital after suffering horrendous facial injuries in Friday's attack.
The IRA thug has been in an induced coma and is on a life support machine after losing half his face in the shotgun attack and is not expected to survive.
It has now emerged that detectives tried to inform him about the active threat on his life on Thursday night but were unable to talk to the gangster. A source said: "Gardai observed Smith's car outside a property in north Dublin on Thursday evening and then attempted to inform him that his life was under imminent danger.
"However when they called to the door, they were verbally abused by a woman who told them that Smith was not there and that they should f*** off."
Belfast man Smith, who was a close pal of slain Real IRA terror chief Alan Ryan, had been living in Coolock after spending over a year on the run since he was shot in the leg by his former IRA associates in Saggart, south Co Dublin, following an internal cash row.
The attempted murder of Smith is just the latest twist in a major increase in tensions between a notorious north Dublin drugs gang who murdered Ryan and Smith's dissident republican pals.
In a separate incident, the leader of the drugs gang, nicknamed 'Mr Big', is being investigated after he threatened one of Smith's pals with a handgun in Dolphin's Barn a week before Smith was shot.
Sources say that this latest round of feuding started when Smith's pal drove up and down the road where the crime boss lives and taunted him.
While it has not been ruled out that his former RIRA comrades targeted Smith in the shooting in Donaghmede last Friday, sources say that the most likely crew who were involved in the assassination attempt are a tightly-knit gang from the Priorswood area of north Dublin who are heavily involved in armed robberies from cash vans.