The man found shot in the leg in Saggart, Co Kildare, early yesterday is a Belfast man with links to dissident republicans who moved to Dublin five years ago.
The man, in his 30s, had in recent years been an associate of the Dublin 'Real' IRA leader Alan Ryan, who was shot dead last September. He attended Ryan's funeral. He was also pictured on holiday with Ryan and other associates at a health spa in Budapest last summer.
It is understood that elements of the dissident republicans in Dublin have recently been subjected to a purge ordered by figures in the North. This is understood to have been prompted by the failure of the Dublin dissidents to send money – earned from extortion and other rackets – across the Border.
Another close associate of Ryan's was also the subject of a punishment shooting last November. Like the man who was found shot in Saggart, this man also received a flesh wound to his leg.
Gardai believe there is a reorganisation going on inside the Dublin dissidents directed by the Tyrone-based leadership of the group, which is now termed the Irish Republican Army but is known in republican areas of Northern Ireland as the 'New' IRA.
According to sources, the northern "leadership" of the organisation had expected a large amount of money – said to be in the region of €200,000 – to be delivered to them by the Dublin-based organisation.
It is understood Ryan had promised that the money – extorted from drugs gangs in Dublin – would be delivered north shortly before his death. When it did not materialise, the northern group ordered an inquiry and reorganisation of its elements in Dublin.
Gardai are closely monitoring the activities of the so-called dissidents in Dublin. In the aftermath of the murder of the leading criminal figure Eamon Kelly in December – in retaliation for the murder of Ryan – Dublin drugs gang leaders ordered assassinations of known dissidents.
The new leader of the dissident republican group in Dublin lives in the Dun Laoghaire area and has had associations with dissident republican activity since the 1990s. He is a former member of the Provisional IRA and was part of the group that broke away in the late 1990s in protest at the moves towards a ceasefire and the consolidation of the peace process in Northern Ireland.
The dissidents are intent, the Gardai and PSNI believe, on continuing to attempt to destabilise the political settlement in the North.
Following the "kneecapping" of the 30-year-old man in Saggart, gardai arrested another man also aged in his 30s who was being held last evening under the Offences Against the State Act at Lucan garda station.
Gardai asked anybody with any information about the shooting to contact them at Ronanstown on 01-6667700 or the confidential line – 1800-666 111.