ONE of Ireland's most-notorious gangsters was shot dead yesterday after abandoning his overseas bolthole for the birth of his baby son.
Michael "Mica" Kelly (30), who knew there was a contract on his head, had been moving between Spain and the Netherlands.
But during the summer he returned home for the child's birth -- and to meet his criminal associates.
However, he was gunned down yesterday shortly after visiting his son and the baby's mother.
Kelly was shot several times as he left an apartment block at Marrsfield Avenue, Clongriffin, on the northside of Dublin, around 1pm.
Two gunmen struck as he walked towards a friend, who had been waiting for him in a parked car.
The assassins, who pulled up alongside their victim in a silver Saab, fired at least three shots from the car. Then as Kelly slumped to the ground, the killers -- armed with a handgun and a rifle -- jumped out of the vehicle and pumped several more rounds into the gangster as he lay dying.
The Saab was then driven over his bullet-ridden body.
An eye witness told how she ran out on to her balcony after hearing shots, and saw the car driving over the victim's body.
"I rang the garda immediately," she said.
"I was in my apartment and I heard three really loud shots and a split-second later three more. I looked out and there was a body on the floor. The car ran over him."
Kelly's friend sped from the scene and the killers made their getaway in the Saab, possibly along the N32, into Clonshaugh.
A similar car was found abandoned there shortly afterwards.
The car was not burnt out and gardai were hoping that forensic tests would confirm that it was the getaway vehicle and provide them with some clues to the identity of the killers.
Following a warning from gardai about a possible contract on his head, Kelly -- a father of three, of Swans Nest Road, Kilbarrack -- spent a lot of his time on mainland Europe where he forged links with global drug traffickers.
He was regarded as a "facilitator" for local drug gangs and was said to have been responsible for a series of large shipments of contraband into the country, which were allegedly controlled by Christy Kinahan and other suppliers.
Kelly was also a prime suspect for organising a number of murders, including the killings of David Lindsay and Alan Napper, both from Baldoyle, Co Dublin. Lindsay had been involved heavily in drug trafficking since the 1990s and Kelly had been part of his gang. But rows over drug debts led to in-fighting, resulting in several gang members being shot dead.
According to garda intelligence, Lindsay hired a hitman -- alleged to have been convicted killer Eric Wilson -- to kill Kelly over a €1m debt.
Lindsay and Napper were last seen alive in July 2008 in Clane, Co Kildare, where they had borrowed a car to travel to Northern Ireland.
But they walked into a double-cross, organised by Kelly, and were murdered in a house in Rathfriland, Co Down. Their bodies have never been found.
Kelly was regularly put under surveillance by the Garda National Drugs Unit and the Organised Crime Unit.
Last December, the Criminal Assets Bureau was given an order by the High Court to sell Kelly's house at Boyne View, in Navan, Co Meath, and two cars -- a Volkswagen Golf and a BMW 320.
The case was not contested by Kelly who had at least 15 criminal convictions, including a suspended three-year sentence for the possession of ecstasy tablets in 1998.