A six-year-old boy is in a serious condition in a Dublin hospital after he was shot in a botched gangland assassination bid.

The child was hit in the neck when gunmen opened fire on a house in the Dublin suburb of Ballyfermot.

Police believe the boy was standing in the hallway when two gunmen approached the house and opened fire.

They also believe the gunmen were targeting a relative of the six-year-old who was in the house at the time.

The Irish Independent reports that the two gunmen pushed the door open and opened fire.

It is understood that the child was hit in the neck either directly or by a ricochet.

A local woman in the Croftwood area of Ballyfermot told the Irish Independent: “I heard a bang, I thought someone had smashed my window.

“I came out and everyone was screaming. I stared throwing towels out to people who were helping him to stop the bleeding.

“I couldn’t look, it was horrible. He looked so small and scared. His glasses were up at his forehead.”

Paramedics treated the child at the scene before rushing him to hospital.

Police have confirmed that the child is in a ‘serious condition’ in hospital.

A police source told the paper: “The child was conscious and breathing when the emergency services arrived.

“The ambulance workers were horrified when they saw what had happened the child. He was awake throughout the ambulance journey.”

Local Sinn Fein councillor Daithi Doolan told the Irish Independent that the community was shocked by what happened.

Doolan said: “I’d offer my deepest sympathy to his family and I wish him a speedy recovery and my thoughts are withthem tonight. I hope that child comes out and continues to enjoy the summer.”