Gardai believe a bogus assassination incident that happened in west Dublin at the weekend was a botched attempt by a major gangster to get his bail conditions changed.
The Herald can reveal that the feared criminal at the centre of the bizarre "staged hit" is a key player in the mob that was involved in the murder of Benny Whitehouse last September.
As part of a plot straight from a film, the criminal arranged for the staging of a farcical shooting attempt in which no shots were fired.
The incident unfolded shortly before 9pm on Saturday, minutes after the 33-year-old had signed on at Clondalkin Garda Station as part of his bail conditions.
Sources have revealed that the feared mobster is "deeply unhappy" at having to live away from his home on the other side of the city.
It is suspected that he and some of his closest associates "hatched a plan" that would enable him to plead in court that it is not safe for him to reside in Clondalkin any more.
The gangster and a close pal of his from the Ballymun area drove to the gates of a property at Commons Road, Clondalkin, at 8.55pm on Saturday.
As they waited for the gates to open, a man in a balaclava approached and appeared to attempt to fire a shot at the gangster with a handgun.
The gunman's weapon failed to discharge and he then appeared to attempt to fire a second time, but again the gun failed to go off.
The gangster got out of the car and ran, but the gunman did not follow and instead was driven away in a waiting car.
Gardai from Clondalkin were notified and rushed to the scene before recovering two 9mm bullet cartridges in the area.
The entire strange incident was caught on an elaborate CCTV system at a house on Commons Road.
Sources have told the Herald that it is suspected that the cartridges were simply thrown on the ground by the man who arrived to carry out the bogus assassination in an attempt to fool gardai.
It is understood that investigating officers are "not satisfied" with a number of aspects of what happened and believe that the incident was staged.
It is believed the gun used in the incident was not loaded and that the gangster had ensured that the incident was caught on CCTV in an attempt to convince gardai that it was a genuine assassination attempt.
Gardai do not believe it was and have confirmed that no shots were fired during the episode but are still appealing for witnesses.
The criminal at the centre of the weird incident is facing serious feud-related charges before the courts and is known to use extreme violence against his enemies.
His gang was feuding with Benny Whitehouse and his associates for over a year before Whitehouse (35) was shot dead outside a school in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, on September 25.
The now Clondalkin-based criminal has linked up with a major crime gang from Swords and has been trying to exert control over the crime scene in north Dublin and south Louth for the past two years.
The gang have now moved into a number of 'legitimate' businesses in an attempt to launder the vast amounts of cash they make from the drugs business, sources said.
The mob are also heavily involved in the organised stolen car trade.
Apart from the Whitehouse murder, the feud has seen a number of stabbing incidents, assaults, numerous cars being targeted and attacks on homes.
Some families have even been forced out of their homes because of the gang warfare and now live in a site that has massive fences around it for their protection.