Ex-IRA suspect is shot dead in home of friend
Published 22/03/2010 | 05:00
A man, suspected in the past of being linked to the IRA, was shot dead in a friend's house in Dundalk last night.
The victim, who was 41 years old, was shot at least once in the side with a handgun and died later at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.
The dead man was named locally last night as Seamus McMahon, who had been acquitted by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin of a charge of membership of the IRA in November 2006.
The shooting took place shortly before 7pm in a house in the Saltown estate in Dundalk.
Mr McMahon, who lived in the Ashbrook area of the town, had been visiting a friend there.
Two men burst into the house and ran upstairs to locate Mr McMahon before opening fire.
As he slumped to the ground, the attackers made their escape on foot from the area and were thought to have climbed over a wall as they ran from the house.
But gardai said last night they believed they may have later used a white Toyota Corolla hatchback car in their escape.
Officers said there was no immediate motive for the shooting and while one line of inquiry involved dissident republicans they were also investigating other possibilities.
"Its too early to say what might have been behind this attack and we are keeping an open mind at this stage", one senior officer said.
But they are also believed to be investigating the possibility that the shooting could have been linked to a dispute over some of Mr McMahon's acquaintances.
Officers said they had no evidence linking Mr McMahon to any recent subversive or criminal activity in the area.
The victim was known to gardai because of his republican past but was not a suspect for any major crimes, gardai said.
The area was sealed off, pending a full forensic examination this morning by members of the garda technical bureau.
A post-mortem examination on the body will be held today at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and it is expected to confirm whether the victim was shot once or twice in the side.
Mr McMahon has lived in Dundalk for several years but was thought to have originally been from the Border area.
He appeared before the Special Criminal Court in November 2006 on a charge of being a member of the IRA on October 7, 2004.
But after a seven-day trial Mr Justice Paul Butler said the court could not be satisfied of his guilt beyond reasonable doubt and Mr McMahon was set free.
Gardai believe that in the past couple of years he had been associating with members of the renegade Continuity IRA and also with some local criminal factions in the town.