herald

Sunday 22 July 2018

Pub gun attack suspect cheats death three times

VICIOUS: Gang hitman (34) a major target for Real IRA assassins

THE gangster arrested for last year's triple shooting at a northside pub has cheated death on three occasions after being targeted by the Real IRA.

The 34-year-old criminal -- who is a close associate of gangland serial killer Eric 'Lucky' Wilson -- remains in custody at Clontarf Garda Station today where he is being questioned about the attack outside the Players Lounge in Fairview.

Three innocent men were seriously injured in the attack, which was part of a feud between the Real IRA and the 34-year-old's boss -- a veteran gangster from Ballyfermot who has made millions from cigarette and drug smuggling.

The Herald has learned that garda custody is probably the safest place for the gangster, who botched the hit last July which left three innocent men with injuries and the intended targets unharmed.

Sources say that he is a major target for the Real IRA and that his former boss no longer offers him protection.

Last April, the criminal was the victim of a late-night gun attack in his native Ballyfermot which left him with injuries to his knee.

And it was late last September that the gangster had a miraculous escape when two gunmen arrived at his house at 8am. It is understood the assassins -- who sources believe were working for the Real IRA -- intended to shoot the gangster as he brought his children to school.

Retaliation

However instead, the gunmen decided to murder him in his house but were "freaked out" when his wife answered the door and fled.

No arrests were made in this case but sources believe it was an attempt at direct retaliation for the gangster's role in the Players Lounge triple shooting.

It was 16 months before he was involved in that incident, that the gangster had another lucky escape when. in March, 2009, he noticed a pipe bomb under his car which was parked outside his Ballyfermot address.

The army bomb disposal team were called to the scene and made the "viable device" safe. Despite his gangland credentials, the man does not have many convictions and his most serious brush with the law was when he was jailed for possession of a sawn-off shotgun and ammunition a decade ago.

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