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Tuesday 21 November 2017

Criminal shot outside creche dies in hospital

Paramedics attend shooting victim ‘Fat Deccy’ Smith at Holywell Avenue in Donaghmede
Paramedics attend shooting victim ‘Fat Deccy’ Smith at Holywell Avenue in Donaghmede
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

THE dissident Republican gangster Declan ‘Fat Deccie’ Smith has died in hospital a week after being shot in the face with a shotgun outside a Dublin creche.

The 31-year-old had been clinging to life in Beaumont Hospital since he was targeted after dropping his son off at the door of Little Rainbows childcare centre in Holywell Road, Donaghmede.

Smith was only feet from his parked car when he was approached by the gunman. He was heard shouting “don’t shoot” before the assassin pointed the sawn-off shotgun towards his face and shot him at close range.

The Belfast native was known to be a close friend of the murdered Real IRA leader Alan Ryan.

Ryan was on route to visit Smith when he was gunned down in Clongriffin 18 months ago.

In the wake of Ryan's death, Smith had attempted to fill his place by becoming the leader of the Dublin branch of the Real IRA.

However, after an internal financial row he was shot in the legs and spent more than a year in hiding.

It is understood that he had only recently returned to Coolock.

Sources revealed that it is "most likely" that the gang involved in the hit on Smith were from north Dublin and have been involved in armed robberies of cash-in-transit vans.

Before Ryan's death, he and Smith had kidnapped and tortured a senior member of that gang in an attempt to steal their weapons. It is understood that since that incident the gang have sworn revenge.

Staff at the crèche drew curtains to prevent the pre-school children from witnessing the murder scene.

Smith was placed in an induced coma in Beaumont Hospital but failed to revive and his death was confirmed by gardai this morning.

Shortly before Ryan was murdered he and Smith had been ordered by dissidents in Northern Ireland to hand over €300,000 from their rackets. They failed to do so and the dissident group they were associated with, terming itself the “Real” IRA, has since disintegrated amid internal feuding and defections.

 Smith, originally from west Belfast, was suspected of being one of a gang terming itself the “Continuity” IRA in Belfast. He was named as being part of a gang that killed two men on the same evening in March 2007. Smith and the others were captured on CCTV drinking and taking drugs in clubs and pubs in the city before the murders.

They then abducted and shot dead Edward Burns, 36, at the Bog Meadows beside the M1 Motorway. They then crossed the city Ardoyne and beat Joseph Jones, 38, to death with a spade. Jones was almost decapitated in the frenzied attack.

A post mortem examination is expected to take place later today and will be carried out by the State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy .

The Garda investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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