TWO children discovered the decomposing body of a man who had been shot in the head in an apparent gangland execution.
The victim was named last night as Alan Desmond, who was described as a loner.
Gardai launched a murder investigation last night after a post-mortem examination of the body of Desmond, who was shot weeks after officers found a large cache of guns in his house.
Two children discovered the decomposed remains after his body lay undiscovered in a field next to a housing estate in Tallaght for about a fortnight. A group of 10- to 12-year-olds were playing in a wooded area next to the Hazelgrove estate shortly after 6pm on Saturday when the gruesome discovery was made.
They went to fetch a football which had landed next to some bushes when they noticed feet and a hand protruding from a black bin bag.
It contained the remains of Desmond (38), who had died of a gunshot wound to the back of his head. The bullet exited his head at the front but it has not yet been found by gardai.
"They were playing up on the hill and they just came across it," said the father of one of the boys, who did not wish to be named.
"He had told me two weeks ago that he saw a bag in the same place with a hand sticking out, but we thought it was his imagination or just a mannequin."
A garda source last night confirmed that the body was in the area for more than 10 days. Desmond had been missing for the past 19 days.
It is believed his murder is linked to a firearms seizure in Tallaght almost three weeks ago.
Three rifles, a handgun and two sawn-off shotguns along with a large amount of ammunition were found during a search of a house in the Kilclare area. Gardai believe Desmond had been ordered to mind the haul by senior criminal figures in the area.
Gardai said they were satisfied Desmond had been shot where the body was found and that he had been lured there by former associates.
Last night, investigating officers were working on the theory that Desmond had been murdered by other members of the gang, after he was blamed for the guns being seized. Desmond was known to the gardai but not classified as a major criminal. In 2000, he was jailed for an attempted robbery at Johnnie Fox's pub in Glencullen.
But gardai believe the recent haul of weaponry may be linked to a notorious crime boss living in Tallaght, already the suspect for a string of murders and shootings in Dublin over recent years. He is closely associated with the INLA and controls a major drug distribution operation.
A security source said: "It appears that the victim (Desmond) was lured to his death and was clinically executed with a single gunshot to the back of the head.
"One line of inquiry will be the seizure of firearms from his home which he was storing for a criminal gang."
Desmond was found less than 100 yards from a makeshift den called 'The Base', where local children play.
The father of one of the boys added: "I went straight up there yesterday when my son told me. The bag was ripped down the side.
"My son doesn't realise the reality of it all and thinks it's a bit of a game. It hasn't sunk in yet."
Gardai appealed to anybody with information to contact them at Tallaght station on 01 6666000, or on the confidential line, 1800 666111.