IRELAND’S most notorious criminal Eamon Kelly has died after being shot three times in broad daylight while out walking.
A close friend of murdered gang boss Eamon Dunne, Kelly, who was in his 60s and known as The Godfather, was gunned down as he was walking near his home on Furry Park Road in Killester on the northside of Dublin this afternoon.
He was shot at least three times in the chest, and gardai are investigating whether a 13-year-old teenage girl witnessed the brutal attack.
Kelly had survived a similar assassination attempt in 2010 at the same spot when the would-be killer's gun jammed.
An armed garda patrol on anti-crime duties in the area today found Kelly lying on the ground and gave chase as the gunman attempted to flee.
Shortly afterwards, the officers pounced on a suspect in his 30s as a black Lexus car was being set alight.
The suspect is believed to be a dissident republican and an associate of the Real IRA faction on the northside.
Kelly was taken by ambulance to Beaumont hospital where he later died.
Gardai believe today’s murder is a retaliatory strike by the terror gang for Alan Ryan’s murder.
Kelly was known to be an associate of the two gang bosses suspected of organising the hit on Ryan.
Ryan was murdered in September in a daylight gun attack. He had been involved in extortion, racketeering and demanding money from drugs gangs in the city.
" Gardaí investigating the fatal shooting this afternoon on Furry Park Road, Dublin 5 are appealing for witnesses to contact them at the incident room in Clontarf Garda Station on 01 666 4800," gardai said tonight in a statement.
"They would particularly like to talk to anyone who was in the Furry Park Road area between 2pm and 4.30pm.
"A black Lexus car 96 D 27994 was found partially burnt out at Stiles Court Clontarf. This is a cul de sac at the rear of Clontarf Cricket/Rugby Club.
"Gardai would like to talk to anyone who may have noticed this car in Killester, Howth Road or Castle Ave. areas today."
* Full details on the life and times of Eamon Kelly from security editor Tom Brady and Paul Willliams in our print edition tomorrow