THE Real IRA shot three men in revenge for a carbomb attack in Dublin.
The violent thugs targeted the three men in a city park after blaming them for the botched bomb attack.
David Morgan (21) and cousins Gary and Christopher Gleeson, both 26, were singled out for execution by dissidents to "lay down a marker", gardai believe.
The three were shot as they stood drinking vodka in Corduff Park, Blanchardstown, at 11.15am on Sunday morning.
The shootings took place days after an explosive device was placed under a car, in the wrong location, in Blanchardstown.
The device, which was intended to target a Real IRA man, was placed under the wrong car -- but the dissidents organised a revenge attack.
They singled out the three young men, despite the fact that there is no evidence that they were involved in the bomb incident.
The device did not explode.
The men were known in the area for anti-social behaviour.
A source told the Herald: "The RIRA believed they were responsible. The lads were known locally for yobbish behaviour and the dissidents knew that few people would complain, and they could paint themselves as vigilantes dealing with local thugs."
The motive for the initial bomb attack last week remains under investigation. A senior Real IRA member is believed to have been the intended target of the incident, but the bomb was mistakenly placed under the car of an innocent individual.
Gardai have no evidence that the men were involved in the attack. But the main line of enquiry is that the RIRA targeted the three men in revenge for the car attack.
It is understood that the three men were caught in a bloody turf war between the RIRA and the INLA. INLA sympathisers are suspects for the car bomb.
The source added: "These three lads were no angels but they were not involved, and got caught in a dispute between the Reals and the INLA."
They were shot by two masked gunmen as they drank a bottle of vodka in Corduff Park at 11.15am on Sunday morning.
Victim David Morgan (21) was shot twice in the head in the shocking incident. One bullet lodged under his right eye after travelling through his brain. Doctors fear he may suffer from permanent brain damage.
His condition has been downgraded to stable but he continues to be treated in the Intensive Care Unit of James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown.
Christopher and Gary Gleeson are both in a serious condition in the Mater Hospital.
Gardai are also investigating whether the gunmen were using faulty bullets in the attack.
Detectives believe that the dud bullets had weak gunpowder charges which may have saved the lives of the three men.
Gary and Christopher Gleeson were drinking vodka in the park with Morgan when the two armed men 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 at Edgewood Lawns, having sustained gunshot injuries, but Morgan fell and was shot in the head.
Christopher Gleeson has a history of violence and had been jailed for a violent assault.
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 a 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.
The gardai in Blanchardstown are appealing for people in the locality to come forward and help the investigation.
Anyone with information on the crime is urged to call Blanchardstown gardai on 01-6667000 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111 or any garda station.