A MAN shot dead through the front door of his home early yesterday was suspected by gardai of being a significant member of the Continuity IRA in Dublin.
Liam Kenny was shot four times in the heart and chest as he tried to prevent a gang breaking into his home at Shancastle Avenue in Clondalkin shortly after 4am.
The father of four had been preparing to go to bed after celebrating his 53rd birthday on Wednesday.
Up to four attackers armed with handguns tried to force their way into the house by smashing down the front door with a sledgehammer. But they failed to gain entry.
Mr Kenny was still fully dressed and was downstairs at the time. His wife Margaret and a daughter were upstairs.
He ran into the hallway but the gunmen opened fire through a glass panel. It is understood they fired five shots and four of the bullets struck their victim in the upper body.
Mr Kenny was taken to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown but was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
The killers made their getaway in a 10D-registered silver Nissan Qashqai, which was later found burnt out at Steeples estate, off St Laurence's Road in Chapelizod. The car had been stolen during a burglary in the capital a couple of days earlier.
The gunmen then switched to another vehicle, which has not yet been located.
Last night, gardai said they were following a number of lines of inquiry.
Mr Kenny and an associate from Blanchardstown were well known to anti-terrorist officers as suspected key members of the Continuity IRA in the city and were regarded as highly active in the past year.
Officers said they had built up a large number of enemies as a result of their activities and the Blanchardstown man in particular had been warned that his life could be in danger.
Mr Kenny was also joint general-secretary of one section of Republican Sinn Fein, which denies claims that it is the political wing of the Continuity IRA.
A big internal row within the Continuity IRA erupted last July and resulted in the setting up of two factions. At one stage, gardai and the PSNI feared the row could result in violence but there has not been a major incident up to now.
Gardai said they were looking at the possibility that the murder could be linked to a feud between Mr Kenny and some of the rival faction but detectives pointed out that they were also examining other theories.
They are looking closely at clashes between suspected members of the Continuity IRA and drug dealers in the Clondalkin area in recent months.
In February, a group of masked CIRA men forced their way into a house and beat up two men who they claimed were drug dealers. A second house was also targeted.
Gardai said there had been ongoing disputes between the dissidents and crime gangs over drugs and extortion rackets.
Also being examined as a possible motive was a dispute, mainly between Mr Kenny's Blanchardstown associate and members of another dissident group, the Real IRA, including some living in Donaghmede.
This dispute centred over control of the "doors" at pubs and clubs in west Dublin.
Mr Kenny had worked as a security guard at the Weaver Court apartment complex and was a grandfather of two.
He was a regular face at protest marches and demonstrated against the visit here of Queen Elizabeth.
Last night, gardai appealed to anyone who may have information about the murder, or who witnessed the silver Nissan Qashqai around the area in the past few days, to contact Ronanstown garda station (01 6667700), the confidential line (1800 666111) or any garda station.