GARDAI are closely monitoring the activities of a teenage criminal who has been released from prison and is regarded as a 'gun for hire'.
Officers in Limerick are on high alert to the teenager who is suspected of having been involved in one murder and at least two serious shooting incidents – in one of which the intended target narrowly escaped with his life.
The teen is back living in Limerick after completing a lengthy prison sentence.
Despite his young age, gardai in the region regard him as an extremely dangerous criminal.
While loosely connected to a drugs gang in the Moyross area of the city, informed sources indicate that the teen is regarded among the criminal fraternity as a "gun for hire".
Along with his parents, he was arrested last year by officers investigating the 2010 murder of Lee Slattery.
Slattery was shot dead and buried in a shallow grave on the outskirts of Moyross.
The father of one daughter suffered three gunshot wounds, including one to the head, before his remains were buried by his killers.
Gardai believe Slattery may have been murdered after he fell into a small drugs debt. No one has ever been charged in connection with the murder.
The teenager was questioned twice regarding gun attacks on notorious criminal Shane Mason. Gardai believe Mason was targeted by the youth armed with a shotgun near Thomond Park in January 2011 and again the following May while in the Cathedral Place area of Limerick.
On both occasions, Mason – who has 179 criminal convictions and was jailed for 16 years for attempted murder in October – narrowly escaped with his life.
The teen was arrested in connection with both offences but remained silent when questioned by detectives.
Last year, gardai in Louth stopped a car travelling from Belfast to Dublin and recovered a Sten submachine gun and magazine.
It was suspected that the machine gun was either purchased or borrowed from another criminal gang, based in the border area, and was due to have been delivered to the ruthless teenager in Limerick.
On the orders of a senior criminal, it is understood the teenager was to carry out a gun attack on a major drug dealer who was the intended target of the McCarthy-Dundon gang when they mistakenly murdered Shane Geoghegan in 2008.