THREE innocent women were shot when a gunman fired indiscriminately during a botched gangland hit outside a pub after a 21st birthday party in Dublin early today.
The gunman’s intended victim – named by sources as convicted drug dealer Greg Lynch (28) - was shot in the head leaving him in a critical condition with a shattered jaw. However, the gunman continued to fire wildly as he fled, hitting three women in the legs.
The injuries of the women - aged 19, 23 and 33 - are not believed to be life-threatening. It is understood one of the women is from Dublin 8 while one of the other women is from Dublin 6.
The incident took place outside Hanlon's pub on the Old Cabra Road about 2.30am. The gunman was wearing dark clothes and a balaclava when he walked up to Lynch and shot him.
The attacker then fled in a BMW parked nearby and driven by an accomplice down nearby Prussia Street.
When gardai arrived after receiving a 999 call, the injured man was lying on the ground bleeding from the head.
The three women who were shot had been outside at the premises at the time, and when gardai arrived at the scene they had been taken inside where they were being comforted.
Lynch was taken to the Mater Hospital where it was discovered he still has a bullet lodged in his head. However, he is expected to survive the attack.
Two of the women were taken to Connolly Hospital and the other woman to St James' Hospital. One of the women has since been released from hospital.
Gardai have described the incident as an "absolutely indiscriminate shooting".
"To shoot into a crowd of people outside a pub can only be described as reckless, to put it mildly". The fact that no one died was pure "luck".
The gardai are unsure as to whether the man and the women knew each other, but confirmed that they were in attendance at the same party upstairs in Hanlon's pub.
They described the scene as "chaotic" on arrival and called on anyone with information to contact gardai.
One local resident said that he was socialising in the bar area of Hanlon's pub last night and "noticed nothing out of the ordinary" prior to the shooting.
Several death threats had been made against Lynch by rivals in recent months.
Gardai have yet to speak to Lynch about the incident.
At a media briefing this morning, Superintendent David Taylor said: "His medical condition is taking priority at the moment. As soon as he is well and fit we will discuss matters with him."
"It was an indiscriminate shooting of people enjoying themselves out at a 21st party," he said.
"The consequences are very serious. The consequences could have been absolutely awful."
The area was still cordoned off this afternoon but the garda forensic team has left the area. About 1.30pm a man emerged from Hanlon's pub and confirmed it would remain closed for the day.
Local councillor Ray McAdam was shocked by the incident, and urged any witnesses to come forward to the gardai.
"I utterly condemn this type of violence where four people were shot. There is no place for this type of incident in our society and I hope that those in hospital make a recovery from their injuries".
"I'd also urge anyone in the Stoneybatter area who may have seen or witnessed this horrible incident to contact gardai in the Bridewell".
Speaking at the scene, local TD and Minister Joe Costello said he was "astounded" to hear the news.
"It's something that's absolutely shocking that would happen in this neighbourhood, as a resident that lives in the area I am absolutely shocked by it all".
He arrived to the scene with his wife Emer, a Labour MEP.
"People were out in the public house enjoying themselves, to be shot like that, it is very sad and very serious.
"My condolences and my sympathies with all of those who were the victims," he said. "You never expect it to happen on one's own doorstep".
Dublin Bus have diversions in place on the 39, 39a and 70 routes which service the area.
The scene of the shooting