Creche gun attack linked to knee-capping
A BID to murder a senior dissident republican figure outside a creche is believed to be linked to a knee-capping incident earlier this month.
Declan Smith, who was a close associate of slain Real IRA boss Alan Ryan, was gunned down minutes after leaving his child to a creche on Dublin's northside.
Smith (32) was hit in the head by a single shotgun blast and last night was in a critical condition at Beaumont Hospital where he underwent surgery.
Gardai said the city's gunmen had plumbed new depths of depravity with the attack.
Parents watched in horror as Smith, who was known as Fat Deccy, fell to the ground in a pool of blood after he had brought his child into the Little Rainbows creche at Holywell Avenue in Donaghmede at around 9am yesterday.
As he walked away from the creche, a lone gunman ran up close to him and opened fire before fleeing on foot.
Yesterday a steady stream of stunned parents arrived at the creche to collect their children following the shooting.
A staff member at the creche said staff had phoned all of the children's parents to inform them of the attack.
One grandmother, who lives nearby, said: "My two grandchildren are in the creche. We only just heard.
"It's hard to believe that someone could unload a gun outside a creche like that. There were kids inside. They could have seen it or been hurt," she said.
A local woman said that her uncle had children in the creche and at first she feared that he was the victim.
"My uncle has children there and he has the same kind of shoes as the man that was shot. I thought it was my uncle, so I called him. It wasn't, thank God," she said.
Gardai believe an accomplice was waiting nearby in a getaway vehicle.
Officers said last night that Smith had built up a list of enemies and had been warned by detectives his life was in danger.
He had been involved in rows with other former associates of Ryan since the terrorist boss was shot dead in 2012 but had also fallen foul of a number of criminal "heavies".
Senior officers said last night they had not yet ruled out any options but were looking closely at a possible connection between the creche shooting and the knee-capping of a builder in Finglas more than a fortnight ago.
In that incident, Nicholas Duffy (40) was shot in both knees and both ankles after being abducted near the Church of the Annunciation at Cardiffsbridge Road in Finglas. He was bundled into a car, taken to a house and tied up and interrogated for more than an hour, before being dumped on a green area near Kilshane Road.
Gardai suspect that the gunmen involved in that incident are part of the same gang as yesterday's hitman.
Mr Duffy is the brother of Hubert Duffy, who is at present on bail awaiting trial in the Special Criminal Court on a charge of membership of an illegal organisation.
Smith had also been knee-capped in January last year. He was found at Fairgreen in Saggart, Co Dublin, with a gunshot wound to his leg and a senior dissident figure from Northern Ireland was later arrested and questioned about the incident.
Originally from west Belfast, Smith moved across the Border after a series of rows between dissident groups and spent some time in Mountmellick, Co Laois.
More recently, he had been living at an address in Coolock on the northside of Dublin.