Gardai investigating the country’s latest gun murder have established that a “a huge amount of verbal altercations” took place in the weeks leading up to Edward O'Connor’s killing.
The development comes as the 22-year-old chief suspect remained in Garda custody last night after the murder in Finglas, North Dublin, on Sunday evening.
The suspect was arrested by armed gardai yesterday morning after two close associates – a boyfriend and girlfriend – were picked up on Sunday night.
Detectives have established that the man was at the scene when the chief suspect shot Mr O'Connor three times after the long-running row turned lethal.
Mr O'Connor was previously investigated for the sexual abuse of a female child three years ago.
Sources say gardai questioned him about the allegations and felt there was enough evidence to prosecute.
But the DPP decided there was insufficient evidence and decided not to bring charges.
This in turn led to a bitter dispute that escalated in recent weeks and was the cause of a violent altercation at a Finglas pub at the weekend.
Earlier reports suggested that someone’s ear was bitten off in the row but this was incorrect.
Senior sources confirmed the two men in custody were present during the assault on Saturday night.
It has also been confirmed that a “straightener fist fight” had been agreed between the opposing factions but instead, the 22-year-old prime suspect is alleged to have pulled a gun on scrap dealer Mr O'Connor. He was then shot dead in front of his two sons.
Last night gardai were interviewing the victim's devastated widow Charlotte in her north Dublin home in an attempt to get more details about the bitter dispute.
A senior source told the Herald: “It would be wrong to say that this murder is part of a feud but it is part of a very nasty dispute that has been going on for ages.
“In the main, officers are aware of a number of vicious verbal altercations but now it has spiralled into extreme violence and ultimately murder. There will be charges here – make no mistake about that.”
Mr O'Connor is believed to have been gunned down as he walked away from a group of men on Ballycoolin Road in Finglas at around 5pm.
Paramedics worked to save Mr O'Connor at the scene but he was pronounced dead in James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown an hour later.
Ken Foy Crime Correspondent