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Man shot in gangland attack is friend of notorious criminal

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Victim Robert Ellis (left) pictured with armed robber Lee McDonnell

Victim Robert Ellis (left) pictured with armed robber Lee McDonnell

The scene of a double shooting: Grange View Lawns, Clondalkin

The scene of a double shooting: Grange View Lawns, Clondalkin

The scene of a double shooting: Grange View Lawns, Clondalkin

The scene of a double shooting: Grange View Lawns, Clondalkin

Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

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Victim Robert Ellis (left) pictured with armed robber Lee McDonnell

The man shot in a gangland attack on Thursday night is a friend of one of Ireland's most notorious criminals.

Robert Ellis and his girlfriend Sarah Hardiman were shot as they got out of their car in the Grange View estate, Clondalkin just before 9.30pm on Thursday night.

Gardaí believe it to be a serious attempt on Ellis' life.

They are probing whether Ellis (23) was targeted by a gang who has been feuding with him and Lee McDonnell. The two criminals served a prison sentence together.

McDonnell made headlines back in December when he absconded from a prison van while serving a 10-year sentence for a spate of violent crimes, including armed robbery.

He was recaptured a month later when in the Ronanstown area of the capital.

The two men were both convicted and jailed for a horrific machete attack in 2011.

The victim almost had to have his hand severed due to the severity of the assault, in that incident.

However Ellis and his girlfriend are now recovering from the gun attack.

It is believed that a masked gunman lay in wait in the estate in Clondalkin, then emerged firing a volley of shots from a small calibre weapon at the couple.

Ellis was struck in the abdomen while innocent Ms Hardiman was hit in the right arm. Both were rushed to Tallaght hospital but their injuries were not life-threatening.

Sources said that the attempted murder may have been carried out by criminals from the Ballyfermot area.

No arrests have yet been made in the investigation, which is being led by Clondalkin Garda Station.

It is understood that Ellis was previously a witness to a murder that happened in Ballyfermot in 2011.

Ellis has almost 40 prior convictions to his name including a seven-year sentence in 2009 for drug offences, the final four of which were suspended.

Sources say that gardaí are struggling to deal with a number of brutal feuds in the Clondalkin and Ballyfermot area which has seen a number of gun attacks and attempted murders this year.

Irish Independent