Gardaí probe drugs gang links after boy (17) is shot in the face
Gardaí were last night still trying to establish a definitive motive for the shocking attempted murder of a 17-year-old boy.
But senior sources said that “by far the most likely explanation” is that it is linked to the lucrative local drugs trade.
The boy was shot in the face, upper body and in the arm just after he had hailed down a taxi on Eugene Street in Dublin’s south inner city shortly before 11pm on Wednesday, a location about 1.5km from his home at Meath Place.
He remained in a serious condition in hospital last night but is expected to survive.
While the shooting victim is known to gardaí, he has no previous criminal convictions and has never appeared before the Children’s Court.
However, sources say that he is on “friendly terms” with a dangerous south inner city grouping that runs a drugs distribution network in the area.
One line in the investigation is that the teenager, who will not turn 18 until October, may have been targeted in revenge for a “slash attack” that an older man who is well known to him carried out in recent weeks.
“This is being looked at but it seems unlikely at this stage. This was a very targeted shooting – he was struck three times and up to six shots were fired from a handgun,” a senior source said.
Gardaí were not aware of any threats against the teenager, who remained in intensive care last night after emergency surgery at St James’s Hospital.
Officers have not yet been able to speak to the teenager and say he is “very lucky to be alive.”
Specialist gardaí were last night forensically examining the getaway car used in the attempted murder.
Gardaí are appealing for information on a Black Hyundai i30, with registration plate 07 TS 4838, which was found burned out on Greenville Avenue.
They are also appealing for anyone who was in the Eugene Street and Greenville Avenue locations between 10.30pm and 11.30pm on Wednesday to contact them. Anyone with camera footage from the locations at that time is also asked to come forward.
A prominent line in the investigation is his friendship with a group of notorious young street dealers who have links to the Kinahan cartel.
This mob had been using a number of sheds and stables in the Liberties area as a drug- dealing headquarters before it was demolished by Dublin City Council last May.
Sources say they control street dealing in the Thomas, Francis and Meath s treet areas of the south inner city, which has brought them into conflict with other local gangs.
Detectives have been monitoring the activities of the ruthless thugs behind the drugs network. These include an out-of-control teenager with very close links to Liam Brannigan (38), who was jailed for eight years last year for conspiring with Kinahan cartel murder plotters to assassinate Dublin man Gary Hanley.
A 28-year-old from Crumlin, who was arrested for a brutal attack on gardaí last year, is also suspected of “controlling” the street-level drug distribution.
It previously emerged gardaí have established that more than half a dozen boys aged between 10 and 12 are dealing crack cocaine, heroin and other substances for the ruthless mob who have been involved in numerous assaults.
Speaking about the shooting, one local resident said: “I went out and I could see the boy crying for help.
“He was either getting into or out of a taxi when he was targeted. He was kind of leaning in the taxi.”
“He was crying for help and I could see blood pouring from his face. It was frightening.
“He was very distressed and some local people had run to help him and were holding things up to where he was bleeding.”