Shot criminal Ellis is best pal of feared psycho McDonnell
ThE gesturing Dubliner in the grey shirt posing in our photo with one of Ireland's most notorious criminals was lucky to escape with his life in a gangland attack on Thursday.
Robert Ellis and his girlfriend Sarah Hardiman were shot as they got out of their car in the Grange View estate, Clondalkin, just before 9.30pm .
Gardai are confident that Ellis (23) was the target of the murder bid and are investigating whether he was attacked on the orders of a gang that has been feuding with him and his mate Lee McDonnell.
Our photo shows the pair posing for a picture taken when they were in prison together.
On Thursday night, a masked gunman lay in wait for Ellis and fired shots from a small calibre weapon at him and his girlfriend. Ellis was hit in the abdomen while innocent Ms Hardiman was hit in the right arm.
Both were taken to Tallaght Hospital, but their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
Sources said the attempted murder may have been carried out by criminals from the Ballyfermot area.
No arrests have yet been made in the investigation, which is being led by detectives from Clondalkin Garda Station.
It is understood that Ellis was a witness to a murder that was carried out in Ballyfermot in 2011.
He has almost 40 convictions to his name including a seven-year sentence imposed in 2009 for drug offences. The final four years were suspended.
Ellis is a close associate of notorious criminal McDonnell, who made headlines in December when he absconded from a prison van while serving a 10-year sentence for a spate of violent crimes including armed robbery.
He was recaptured a month later in Ronanstown.
The pair were convicted and jailed for a horrific machete attack in 2011 in which the victim almost had his hand severed.
Sources say gardai are struggling to deal with several brutal feuds in the Clondalkin and Ballyfermot areas which have seen a number of gun attacks and attempted murders this year.