VANDALISM to a car sparked the shooting of three men in a Dublin park, gardai believe.
And the trio may have been caught up in the crossfire of a bloody turf war between the Real IRA and the INLA.
One victim, David Morgan, was shot twice in the back of the head.
Morgan (21) and cousins Gary and Christopher Gleeson were targeted after a car owned by a pal of a RIRA member was vandalised.
“The Real IRA wanted to be seen to do something about the act and shot these guys although there is nothing whatsoever to say they were involved,” said a source.
Another source said: “It’s a turf war for supremacy between the two groups. The RIRA wanted to show they are in charge and took slight when a friend of a RIRA member had his car vandalised.
“That’s why three men have been shot; something as simple as that and they three guys got caught up in the crossfire between the INLA and RIRA,” said the source.
Detectives today carried out searches as they hunted the two RIRA assassins ordered to carry out the hit at Corduff Park, Blanchardstown.
Luckily the normally busy park was virtually deserted as young footballers participated in the John Giles Walk of Dreams in the city centre.
David Morgan was critically ill after he was shot twice in the head when he stumbled while trying to flee. One bullet lodged under his right eye after travelling through his brain, and he may not survive the cold blooded attack.
Morgan was a personal friend of a Dublin INLA member and was known to gardai for anti-social behaviour in the local area, sources told the Herald.
“That’s the size of the INLA connection. Morgan was targeted simply because he hung around with a guy who is an INLA heavy.”
Gary and Christopher Gleeson were drinking vodka in the park with Morgan when the two armed and masked man strolled up to them, pulled on balaclavas and opened fire with .38 Smith and Wesson Special revolvers.
The Gleesons managed to run to a nearby house, having sustained gunshot injuries, but Morgan fell and was shot in the head.
A source told the Herald: “The Real IRA have shot major criminals in the past but this is the first time they tried to kill people for a low level matter – like vandalism. They were prepared to murder three people for this.”
While Morgan was shot in the head, the Gleeson cousins were both hit in the body but fled on foot to a nearby estate where they raised the alarm. The two gunmen fled the scene on foot through the park to Edgewood Lawns, a nearby estate.
The three injured men were taken to James Connolly hospital, Blanchardstown and the Mater. .
The condition of Gary and Christopher Gleeson is described as serious. All three victims were known to gardai. Christopher Gleeson was jailed for seven years for a brutal assault which left a schoolteacher in a coma.
Gleeson pleaded guilty to assault causing serious harm during an attack in 2003 and was sentenced to seven years in jail with the final three suspended.
He was one of seven-strong gang who set upon Edward Fanning outside his home in Mulhuddart as his son enjoyed his first birthday party inside. He was left in a coma for several days.
Locals in Corduff were shocked at the shooting today, as an under 14 team from Corduff Football Club were training in the park at the time of the shooting,
Today officers drove in convoy to the Corduff area to carry out searches. Around ten officersquickly entered one home and left the house after around half and hour.
Anyone with information on the crime is urged call on (01) 6667000 or Confidential Line on 1800 666111.