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Saturday 21 October 2017

Walrus 'hitman' quizzed as gardai probe grudge theory

Gardai at the scene on Hillcrest Park, Glasnevin. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins
Gardai at the scene on Hillcrest Park, Glasnevin. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins

A GUNMAN who shot himself in a botched hit has been arrested. Gardai were waiting for the 31-year-old outside Beaumont Hospital where he was being treated for self-inflicted leg injuries.

The would-be hitman was last night being quizzed over the botched assassination attempt on a Dublin drug dealer this week.

The north Dublin man was brought to Ballymun Garda Station to be questioned about the shooting of Charlie 'The Walrus' O'Neill in broad daylight in Glasnevin.

O'Neill (51) was seriously injured in the gun attack during rush hour on Monday morning and rushed to a separate hospital where he is still undergoing treatment for abdominal wounds.

Gardai initially suspected a drugs link to the shooting, but are now investigating if a personal grudge or dispute is at the centre of the bizarre attempted murder.

A source said the gunman has been "causing concern" for gardai at the Bridewell Station in particular for a long time now.

"However, he had no previous form for this kind of activity and the events of Monday morning show that he is clearly not very experienced with a shotgun," they added.

The gunman, who previously received an 18-month jail sentence for being involved in the Love Ulster riot in Dublin city centre in 2006, arrived at the scene on Glasnevin Avenue on a bicycle.

He injured himself as he pulled a sawn-off shotgun from his tracksuit. However, he still managed to open fire and wound O'Neill, who was also on a bicycle, in the bizarre shooting in north Dublin on a busy street during the early morning rush-hour.

The gunman tried to flee on foot down a laneway, but his injuries were too severe for him to make a clean getaway.

He was found lying in pain by gardai at nearby Hillcrest Park. The shotgun used was recovered at the scene.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to violent disorder and criminal damage on February 25, 2006, when he threw broken paving slabs at gardai and put a pole through the window of the Progressive Democrats' office on South Frederick Street, causing nearly €2,000 worth of damage, during the Love Ulster riot.

The main line of inquiry now being followed by officers investigating the attack is that there was a grudge between the gunman and O'Neill.

hnews@herald.ie

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