Pal of slain gang boss shot for second time and lives
A close friend of murdered gangland boss Eamon Dunne has survived a second attempt on his life after a hitman targeted him in a quiet area with no CCTV cameras.
Businessman Brian O'Reilly (45) was shot twice in the chest and once in the arm as he sat in his car outside the Platinum gym in Balrothery, Balbriggan, in north county Dublin.
The victim was rushed to Beaumont Hospital in a serious condition, where he underwent surgery. But he is expected to recover from his injuries.
He had previously been shot by suspected members of the Real IRA while drinking in his local pub in Bettystown, Co Meath, in 2010.
Shortly after yesterday morning's shooting, Mr O'Reilly's close friend Derek McLoughlin (49), who lives nearby, arrived at the scene.
An attempt was also made on Mr McLoughlin's life in May last year while he sat behind the wheel of his car outside a shopping centre in Swords, where he was a regular visitor at a gym, but the gun jammed.
Mr O'Reilly had pulled up in his silver VW Passat car outside the Platinum gym, at the Balbriggan retail park, around 11am yesterday.
A lone gunman approached from the passenger side and a fired a number of shots through the front passenger window.
Despite his injuries, Mr O'Reilly managed to struggle out of the Passat but was shot again. He slumped to the ground, hit twice in the chest and once in the upper arm as the hitman made his getaway in a white Nissan 200 SX or Toyota Supra.
Gardai said he was not wearing a bulletproof vest.
Officers said last night they were trying to establish whether dissident republicans were responsible for shooting him the second time or whether he had been targeted by members of an organised crime gang.
Detectives from the Criminal Assets Bureau had recently served a tax bill for €1.2m on Mr O'Reilly.
One witness, who was at the gym at the time of the incident but did not wish to be named, said: "I was here when it was happening. I could see somebody outside and I thought he collapsed."
In August 2010 Mr O'Reilly, who is originally from Ballymun in north Dublin but now lives at Northlands, Bettystown, was shot twice in the Bettystown pub after associates of the murdered Real IRA leader Alan Ryan had tried to extort money from him.
Four months later, he claimed in the High Court that senior gardai were in collusion with crime journalists to set him up to be murdered.
He said that since Eamon Dunne had been shot dead, he had become the target of considerable media speculation that he had taken over control of Dunne's drugs and crime organisation.
"This is vehemently denied," Mr O'Reilly said.