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Man (41) to face gun charge after horse fair chaos

A 41-year-old man will stand before a judge for allegedly hiding a pistol used in the Smithfield horse fair shooting.

Detectives believe that the man arrested following the violence was paid money by the shooters to dump the .22 calibre pistol used in the shooting.

The suspect, from the south inner city, has been grilled by detectives at the Bridewell Garda Station over his part in the disturbances and will face charges in court over his involvement.

He was picked up by gardai after they discovered the pistol during a search of the Oliver Bond flats complex in the south inner city.



Surgery

The Herald has learned that three bullets were fired from the weapon during the skirmishes on Sunday morning but miraculously they failed to hit anyone in the area.

Two men from Offaly are recovering in hospital after both were shot in the leg in the violent disturbances, while a third received emergency surgery after his arm was nearly sliced off by a machete.

They were hit by pellets fired from a home-made shotgun which was made safe by an army bomb disposal team, who initially believed it to be a pipebomb.

The second man has been transferred to a hospital in the midlands from the Mater.

The feud which sparked Sunday's violent attacks and stampede began with a bloody bare-knuckle boxing fight in Waterford four years ago.

The row, which centres on two Traveller factions, has led to violence right around the country as members of each group got involved.

There have been hundreds of tit-for-tat attacks over the past two years, resulting in arson and gun attacks, slash hook violence, stabbings and horse mutilation.

Teenager and promising boxer Wesley McDonagh (17) has been identified as the man who almost had his arm sliced off with a machete in the incident.

Wesley was forced to tie a black bin-liner around his wrist to stem the blood flowing from a gaping wound just above his left elbow.



Dreams

He lost eight pints of blood and had three metal plates inserted in his left arm during a 10-hour operation which has ended his boxing career and Olympic dreams.

Speaking from his hospital bed, where he is under constant garda protection, Wesley said: "I suddenly heard gunshots.

"I didn't know what was going on.

"I just turned around and saw this fella coming down on my head with a machete.

"Straight away I put my arm up to shield myself and the blade just cut into my arm at the elbow. Otherwise it would have came right down on my head."

Detectives believe they have identified the two gunmen from Sunday morning from photos and video footage of the disturbances and a garda manhunt is under way to track them down.

hnews@herald.ie