A Spanish based Irish gangster ordered the hit on gangland boss John Gilligan, according to police sources.

The Irish Independent’s crime reporter Paul Williams has said that the Gilligan hit followed demands for cash from underworld figures.

The paper says Gilligan has attempted to ‘tap’ Ireland’s most notorious criminals for money since his release from Portlaoise Prison last October.

Associates of a notorious Irish criminal, now based in Spain, were tapped by Gilligan.

The Spanish based criminal regards Gilligan as ‘a weak link,’ attracting police attention to their bids to set up profitable drug deals.

Police sources told the paper that it is not yet clear whether the overseas criminal played any direct role in the failed assassination attempt on Gilligan, who was behind the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin.

One senior officer said, “There is a long queue of people, who would like to see Gilligan disappear.

“Since his release from jail, he has annoyed a lot of criminals, who were previously involved in illegal business deals, and are now being put under pressure by him to give him a dig out.

“He appears to have had no access to real money since he got out of jail and is under the impression that others owe him a favor because of his standing before he was sent to prison.”

Source have also described Saturday’s attack in a Dublin house as ‘amateurish’ – two gunmen fired six shots with Gilligan who was hit at least three times in the stomach, hip and leg.

Police say the gun used in the attack was similar to the weapon abandoned by gunmen after a previous planned shooting of Gilligan last December.

Gilligan was reported to be in a stable condition at Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, Co Dublin following surgery.