Read more: IRA dissidents pose threat to London Olympics say security chiefs
Dissident Republicans are being investigated over a ‘punishment beating’ style shooting attack on three men in the West Dublin suburb of Blanchardstown.
The three victims, all in their 20s and all known to local police, were shot as they drank vodka on the side of a football pitch in Corduff Park at 11.15am on Sunday morning.
Locals have claimed that it is a miracle that children weren’t caught in the crossfire at the football pitches, normally the venue for dozens of soccer matches on a Sunday morning.
An FAI charity walk meant all schoolboy games were postponed on Sunday but police have yet to establish if the attackers were aware of this fact.
They have confirmed that dissident Republican vigilantes are the chief suspects in the case as all three victims have a history of trouble making in the area and one has served a prison sentence for a vicious assault on a teacher in the classroom.
The Irish Independent has named the three men as David Morgan, who was shot in the head, Gary Gleeson and Christopher Gleeson.
Morgan’s niece Leota Morgan, who lives nearby, spoke to the Independent about the shooting.
“I heard a bang, but I didn’t realize it was a gunshot,” said Morgan. “Then the neighbors started shouting and I realized something had happened. I ran outside and I recognized David from his clothes. He was just lying there in the park.
“I saw a guard running in the direction of where the shooters went. And another man had jumped over the wall of one of the housing estates and was trying to help David as well.”
Witnesses reported that the victims were casually drinking vodka when two men approached them at approximately 11.15am on Sunday morning.
As they neared their targets, the gunmen donned balaclavas and opened fire with what were believed to be handguns.
Two of the three took shots to the body and escaped to a nearby house to raise the alarm.
As they fled, the third man was shot in the head with a bullet lodging just below his eye before his attackers ran on foot to a nearby estate.
The injured men were taken to the local James Connolly hospital in Blanchardstown and to the Mater Hospital in the City Centre.
Morgan, shot in the head, is described as critical while the other two, who received body wounds, are in a serious condition according to medical staff.
Police in Blanchardstown have confirmed that they are investigating claims that the attacks were ordered by local dissident Republicans in response to anti-social behavior by the three men.
Ireland’s new Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has also called on locals to aid the investigation.
“Anyone who can help the police in any way with even the smallest scrap of information should make contact,” said Minister Shatter.
“I share the community’s sense of revulsion at this incident, which occurred in broad daylight,” he added. “This type of incident is revolting to all law-abiding citizens.”
Locals are amazed that no children were caught up in the incident at the park, home pitch to Corduff Football Club whose membership includes players as young as four years of age.
“We don’t know if the shooters realized that the football games were off,” said one local.
“I doubt they knew what the local football team were doing but thank God there were no kids there, who knows what would have happened if there had been scores of kids running around the place.”
One resident told the Irish Times: “I wasn’t shocked and I’m sorry to have to say that. There’s so much violence now across the city, across the whole country; life is cheap as dirt.
“Drugs problems in the area have been getting out of hand and there had been a lot of small incidents between gangs.
“There has been underlying violence in Blanchardstown for a while and the police haven’t got a handle on it.”Read more: IRA dissidents pose threat to London Olympics say security chiefs