Thursday February 22 2007
THE shooting of a 22-year-old man is the first strike in what gardai fear could be a further escalation of a gangland feud.
They are concerned that the recent return of a major player from Europe will lead to a spate of shootings and possible killings.
Wayne McNally remained in a critical but stable condition in St James's Hospital after being shot in the face, leg, arms and shoulder on Tuesday night.
McNally, who has over 60 convictions, had been warned recently by gardai that his life could be in danger. But he opened the front door of his girlfriend's house in Gray Square off Meath Street in Dublin at 9.15 on Tuesday night before being shot several times by a lone gunman.
His shooting is linked to a long-running feud between rival drug gangs in Dublin's south inner city, which has resulted in at least 10 murders in just over six years.
One of the gangs is headed by a 25-year-old man who was recently acquitted of drugs and gun offences in Europe, and who has returned to Dublin.
"His own life has been threatened countless times and he was warned not to return but he is back nonetheless," one source said. "It's unlikely to be a coincidence, and it's unlikely to be the end of it."
McNally came to prominence in 2003 when another passenger in the stolen car he was in opened fire on gardai and levelled his shotgun at a detective after a chase. The third man in the car, Wayne Zambra, was shot dead last August, another victim of the feud.
Earlier in 2003, McNally had slashed a woman's neck during a carjacking outside an apartment block in Harold's Cross. He was jailed for a total of four and a half years for these crimes.
It is understood that McNally, who has an address at Loreto Road in Dublin 8, moved to the 'safe house' in Gray's Square after the garda tip-off that his life was in danger.
He was tracked down and shot by a lone gunman, who gardai believe is over six foot tall and escaped in a waiting vehicle.
Later in the evening two men in their 20s were arrested nearby and were being questioned by gardai last night. One of the men is from the south inner city, the other from Kevin Street.
A car was also recovered near the scene, and was undergoing forensic tests as part of technical investigations.
Sinn Fein's Aonghus O Snodaigh yesterday demanded that more attention be paid to the area by the Justice Minister and the gardai. He claimed the main characters in the feud were "operating with impunity".