Gunman is shot three times and dumped in field
A criminal was murdered when he was shot three times in the chest.
The body of Paul 'Ralph' Gallagher (26), who had been reported missing by his family earlier this week, was found in a field in Meath yesterday.
It is understood that he sustained at least three gunshot wounds from a handgun in a drugs-related gangland murder.
Gallagher was the chief suspect for a botched gun attack which left a man fighting for his life last April.
He was also under threat from a number of dangerous criminal gangs in the capital.
Gallagher, who was from Newbrook Avenue in Donaghmede, was found by a farmer on a tractor path in a field at Ballymacan, just inside the Meath border near the Louth village of Collon, shortly after 5pm.
Gardai believe he turned up for a pre-arranged meeting and was driven there by a friend.
Upon arriving at the field, it is understood they met a number of Dublin men - who live in the Droghega area - and he was murdered. The killers then fled from the scene.
Sources said that the criminal was facing drugs and other serious charges before the courts.
"This man was under serious threat because of his involvement in stealing drugs," a senior source said.
"It was only a matter of time before he was taken out - he knew that his life was in serious danger especially over the course of the last few months.
"It very much looks like he has been set-up," the source added.
Gallagher was previously a key member of the north Dublin gang who murdered Real IRA terror chief Alan Ryan in September 2012.
His involvement with the mob made him a big target for the gardai's Organised Crime Unit.
However, sources say that Ralph's reckless behaviour alienated him from other gang members and he was in an "isolated position" in recent weeks.
A source said: "Ralph owed money all over the place and he would do anything for a few quid.
"He had started robbing off other drug dealers and was going around making threats in the Kilbarrack and Donaghmede areas earlier in the summer."
Sources say that gardai were about to arrest Gallagher for a shooting that they believed he was involved in last April, which ironically happened near where his body was found yesterday.
He was the chief suspect in the attempted murder of a father-of-one who was shot three times on the doorstep of his father's home in Co Meath on the night of April 27 last.
His 39-year-old victim was hit twice in the upper body and once in the leg after he answered a call to the door of the house in the townland of Dowth near Slane.
He has been left with horrendous leg injuries and is still recovering from that shooting, sources say.