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Don's pal leaves hospital after gun attack

AN associate of slain gangster Eamonn 'The Don' Dunne has been discharged from hospital -- two weeks after he survived an attempted hit in his local pub.

Brian O'Reilly (41) was discharged from the Mater Hospital, Dublin, last Saturday following treatment for gunshot wounds.

Tensions have been high in the Finglas-Ballymun area and in O'Reilly's home area of Bettystown, Co Meath, over the past 72 hours, amid fears of further attacks.

Corroded

Armed detectives have been posted on covert surveillance in the areas to prevent further violence.

In a further development, the Herald understands that forensic tests on the bullets used in the attack are understood to have shown they were water corroded and broke up on being fired, which may have saved O'Reilly's life.

He was shot four times in the toilet of his local bar in Bettystown, Co Meath on August 7.

O'Reilly, who was a pallbearer at The Don's funeral, escaped with his life after he was hit by semi-automatic fire in the upper body, which narrowly missed vital organs.

A garda spokesperson said investigations into the shooting are still continuing.

The Mater Hospital wouldn't give out details on the condition of its patient, but the Herald has learned that Mr O'Reilly has been sent home.

Eight bullets in total were fired during the incident as O'Reilly tried to hide from two gunmen in the pub's toilet.

A motive being explored by gardai is that Real IRA-linked criminals had tried to extort money from O'Reilly.

It is understood that the victim ignored the threats and this may be the reason why he was targeted. Gardai warned O'Reilly of a threat to his life in May, which was connected to the suspected RIRA extortion plot. He was offered security advice by officers at the time.

O'Reilly, who is originally from Ballymun but now lives in Co Meath, was a close confidant of Dunne. He once owned a security company, Shelneart Limited, with Dunne in East Wall, Dublin. The company was dissolved in 2008.

O'Reilly was previously arrested in March 2007 by gardai investigating the murder of Marlo Hyland three months earlier.

Birthday

Despite the similarities, the Bettystown attack is not believed to be linked to the murder of Dunne on April 23 at the Faussagh House pub in Cabra.

Dunne (34), who was believed to have been linked to 17 gangland murders, was killed as he celebrated a friend's 40th birthday.

hnews@herald.ie