GUNMEN tried to murder the new boyfriend of a notorious gangster's moll overnight.
The hit squad drew up in a car and fired two shots at the young man but failed to hit him during the attack in central Dublin.
The man is the new boyfriend of Natasha McEnroe, who was once the partner of drug dealer, King Ratt.
At about 9pm last night her new partner was walking near Charlemont Street -- not far from St Stephens' Green -- when shots were aimed at him from a passing car.
The young man was thought to be returning from visiting family.
"King Ratt has offered €20,000 to whoever can kill this unfortunate individual. Three different outfits have expressed interest in doing the hit," said a source.
The gunmens' car was later found crashed near Peters' Place. The occupants had fled and there was no sign of the weapon in the vehicle.
The scene is not far from the Garda's Dublin Region Metropolitan HQ -- base for the CAB, Special Branch and Organised Crime Unit.
Today, detectives were revising their security operation around the couple.
Garda anti-crime and anti-gang operations have been curtailed by cutbacks in overtime. Many serious crime detectives are limited to 9-5 working hours.
Last night's attack was the second attempt on the life of a 24-year-old man who is in a relationship with Natasha McEnroe (26). Gunmen broke into their Ranelagh home last January but he ran for his life on that occasion.
The attack occurred hours after the Herald photographed the garda patrol outside McEnroe's Ranelagh home yesterday.
The house is under 24-hour garda protection since the January incident there. Gardai continued to patrol the estate today as officers investigated the latest attempt on the young man's life.
In the January incident, the man jumped from a window of his house as a gunman climbed the stairs, while another gunman held Natasha McEnroe at gunpoint.
Gardai had warned them on December 31 last that their lives were in danger and they should take added precautions.
The garda cover has remained on the house for almost three months now, amid fears that associates of King Ratt could target the young man again.
A source told the Herald: "There's a presence in the area around the clock. A serious threat exists and the cover will remain until this matter is resolved."
The two attempts to target McEnroe's boyfriend are part of a campaign of intimidation against him.
In the days following the assassination attempt a hoax device was placed under the 24-year-old's car. The young man is not involved in crime.
Jailed gangster'King Ratt' split with McEnroe last November.
McEnroe visited King Ratt in the Midland's prison in Portlaoise to tell them their relationship was over. She allegedly told him that she was not prepared to wait for him. The jailed gangster was placed in solitary confinement for a period afterwards.
Associates of King Ratt outside prison then planned to target the man, garda believe.
A 31-year-old criminal from the south inner city is believed to have arranged a two-man hit team. The gunman is an underworld figure with at least five gangland murders to his name.
After the incident in which the hitman missed his target, patrols were increased at McEnroe's Ranelagh home. She has lived there since moving fromKing Ratt's family home in Drimnagh in November.
McEnroe, from Captain's Road, Crumlin, had previously lived with King Ratt's family at Cooley Road, Drimnagh, along with the eight-year-old daughter she had with King Ratt .
She left after a row with her pal Sharon Rattigan (28), King Ratt's sister. Before their split, McEnroe had taken her eight-year-old daughter to visit King Ratt each week. According to locals, the trouble began when a female neighbour contacted King Ratt claiming that Natasha had been having an affair. McEnroe turned on the neighbour, claiming she was a lying.
Sharon Rattigan, her brother Ritchie (31) and their mother sided with her neighbour and McEnroe left Cooley Road with her daughter and went to her deceased grandfather's home in Ranelagh. She lived at her new home in Ranelagh without incident until the January hit attempt.