Friendship with woman 'led to man being shot three times'
Gardai are investigating if a Dublin man who was shot multiple times in an attempted murder was targeted because of his friendship with a woman.
Tony O'Connor (34), who has no involvement in crime, was recovering from his injuries after he was ambushed in the driveway of his home in Stamullen, Co Meath on Thursday evening.
It emerged last night that Clonsilla man Mr O'Connor had previously been threatened by gangland criminals linked to the so-called 'Taliban' brothers because of his friendship with a woman known to them.
It is understood that they threatened him last month at his home.
Mr O'Connor remained in a serious but stable condition in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth, last night.
Eight shots were fired at the victim who was hit at least three times in the elbow and abdomen, but he was conscious when the emergency services arrived. Mr O'Connor is expected to survive.
Speaking to reporters at Ashbourne Garda Station yesterday, Superintendent Jim Cannon revealed that a car believed to have been used by the gunman to get to and from the scene has been found.
"There was an attempt made to burn the car," he said, adding that a gun had been found inside the vehicle. Both the car and handgun are being examined. Supt Cannon said the gunman was wearing a balaclava and dark overalls when he approached the victim.
The car, a blue Seat Leon with the registration 151 DL, turned left towards Stamullen village as the gunman fled the scene. It was found on the Bellewstown Road.
Detectives believe a white BMW is also relevant to the investigation. The scene of what is the third shooting in less than a year in the housing estate was sealed off yesterday pending a forensic examination.
Gardai earlier confirmed that the incident was not linked to the brutal Hutch/Kinahan feud.
"This is a very quiet area, the victim is not known to gardai and this is what we would describe as a despicable act, where there were children present and there were other people present and this man is obviously an innocent victim," the superintendent said.
"You can take it that people were at risk from the firing of these shots. "It is very clear that the gunman in this case has no regard whatsoever to the safety of the residents of the area."
Sources confirmed last night that gardai are investigating if the highly feared 'Taliban' brothers ordered the botched murder attempt.
The brothers, aged 34 and 32, are wanted for questioning in relation to a spate of killings including two double murders.
This includes the murders of north inner city Dublin cousins Glen Murphy (19) and Mark Noonan (23), who were shot in Finglas in November 2010.
The brothers grew up in the Coolock area and were heavily involved in organised burglaries and armed robberies even when they were teenagers.
The feared siblings then progressed onto contract killings and became the main hitmen for the 'Mr Big' drugs organisation.