GARDAI now believe that a gun attack on bankrupt developer and former politician Ger Killally was a botched robbery.
Investigating officers think the two gunmen were aware that Mr Killally was carrying €20,000 in cash in the boot of his father's car when he came under fire outside his Co Offaly home.
Initially, gardai thought it was more likely that the shooting incident was linked to a debt owed by Mr Killally, a former Fianna Fail councillor and running mate of ex-Taoiseach Brian Cowen, who had run into massive financial difficulties in the past few years.
But last night investigators said that while a number of options were still under examination at this early stage in
their inquiries, they regarded robbery as the most likely motive for the ambush.
Two shots were fired at Mr Killally, whose father, Jay, and two young children, aged two and three, were also travelling in the Volkswagen Passat car, as he was about to drive out of the avenue from his luxury home on Thursday morning at Shean, Co Offaly.
He had put the cash into the boot of the car before he set out with the intention of making a purchase with the money as part of a business deal.
Gardai are trying to establish how third parties became aware of the deal and when it was due to take place.
They are concerned the gunmen picked up information of Mr Killally's plans on Thursday morning and were aware he would have a large sum of cash with him as he left the house.
Garda inquiries have established that a silver Opel Astra car, with an 06 registration plate, which was used by the gunmen in their getaway from the scene of the shooting, had been driven several times up and down the roadside outside his house for about half-an- hour prior to the attack.
Eye-witnesses interviewed by gardai had noticed the Astra as it was travelling towards the town of Edenderry and then back again.
Last night officers were also interviewing Mr Killally to gain a first-hand account of what took place around 10.30am and to find out if he had any idea why he had been targeted.
Mr Killally's father is understood to have told officers he believed one of the attackers was armed with a shotgun.
But a detailed forensic check of the scene has failed to produce any evidence to indicate what type of firearm had been used.
The shots did not hit the Passat, although they were fired at a relatively close distance and gardai believe they could have been fired into the air in an effort to scare Mr Killally and bring his car to a halt.
But instead the 42-year-old father of four spun his car into reverse and then drove through a bollard and a large plant pot at the entrance before speeding off away from the town.
The bollard became stuck underneath the Passat, which he drove for around 200 metres before crashing into a ditch.
The car spun on its side before crashing into a concrete shed, bringing it to a halt on its wheels.
Mr Killally ran from the car into a field in an effort to attract the gunmen away from his family. But the Astra, which was in pursuit, suddenly screeched to a halt, reversed and was driven at high speed towards Edenderry.
Mr Killally then ran back to check whether his father and two children were injured.
Both Mr Killally and his father sustained cuts from glass broken in the crash, while his daughter complained of pains in her side. His son was uninjured.
Gardai last night were continuing inquiries in an effort to find out if anybody had spotted the Astra either earlier that morning or after the attack.