Murdered man was 'a heavy' for crime gangs
Gardai probe criminal links of shooting victim
A MAN shot dead in the bathroom of a friend's apartment may have been singled out because he was "an enforcer" for criminal gangs.
Victim Seamus McMahon (41) was regarded by gardai as a "heavy", who hired out his services to gangs.
He was shot twice in the chest in the ground floor apartment in the Bothar Chroinn estate in Saltown, Dundalk, Co Louth, on Sunday night and died later from his wounds in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.
Mr McMahon, who was from the Green Acres area of the town, was separated and the father of a 15-year-old boy.
Last month, he and another suspect from Dundalk were arrested by gardai investigating a violent break-in at a house in Achill, Co Mayo.
Two men had forced their way into the house, beat up the owner and stole a small amount of jewellery before making their getaway.
Gardai believe the culprits had chosen the wrong house and intended to carry out a "punishment attack" on another man.
Officers later arrested Mr McMahon and the second suspect a short distance from the scene of the attack.
They were detained for questioning under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.
They were later released without charge and a file was being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions to determine whether criminal charges should be brought.
In November 2006, Mr McMahon was acquitted by the Special Criminal Court of being a member of the Provisional IRA in October 2004. Shortly afterwards, he cut Provisional ties and began associating with members of the dissident Continuity IRA.
Anti-terrorist officers said he continued to be linked with CIRA members while also becoming involved with local criminals and some supporters of the Real IRA.
Intelligence indicated that Mr McMahon then had a row with his CIRA associates and broke that link.
Last night they were trying to establish if that row was connected to Sunday night's shooting. But officers admitted that Mr McMahon had built up a long list of enemies because of his activities as an "enforcer" and detectives were also examining his personal life to determine if he had been in arguments recently.
At least three men were involved in the shooting. Two of the gang knocked on the door of the apartment shortly before 7pm on Sunday and then pushed past the female occupant without uttering a word.
They shot Mr McMahon twice below the ribs with a handgun and then fled the apartment. The two were seen jumping a wall and running across back gardens before jumping into a waiting white hatchback car, either a Toyota Corolla or a Nissan Almera, which had been parked by an accomplice at the entrance to the estate and left in the direction of the Fatima estate.
The deputy State pathologist, Dr Kahlib Jaber, confirmed in a post-mortem examination yesterday that Mr McMahon died from internal trauma as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest.
He had suffered heavy blood loss from injuries to his lungs and ribs and had also had a cardiac arrest in the ambulance on the way to hospital.
Gardai last night appealed to anybody who was in the Saltown area between 6.30pm and 7.30pm on Sunday and notice young men acting suspiciously to contact them at Dundalk station, 042 9388400, or on the confidential line, 1800 666111.
Mr McMahon's family declined to comment. Neighbours said that his mother, Cait, was deeply traumatised by the shooting.