Spectre of paramilitary kneecappings re-emerges
THE Real IRA has been blamed for kneecapping a man alleged to be one of its own members.
The victim of the shooting, who was a friend of slain Real IRA faction boss Alan Ryan, has been named as 33-year-old Nathan Kinsella, of Matt Talbot Court in Dublin's north inner city.
Kinsella is on bail awaiting trial by the Special Criminal Court on a charge of membership of the Real IRA on September 13 last.
He was one of three men charged with membership as a result of an ongoing investigation by gardai into a paramilitary display, including firing a volley of shots, at the funeral of Ryan outside his family home in Donaghmede on the northside of the capital in September.
Kinsella was shot shortly after midnight yesterday and dumped out of a van at Le Fanu Road in Ballyfermot in west Dublin. He was shot in the knees with an automatic pistol and, after the emergency services had been alerted at 12.10am, he was taken to St James's hospital by ambulance.
Last night, he was recovering in hospital from his wounds and was said to be in a stable condition.
He told gardai he did not know who shot him and had not seen his attackers previously.
The road was closed off to traffic throughout the early morning as a technical examination of the scene was completed.
But gardai believe he was shot by members of the dissident republican organisation.
The Real IRA has been in disarray since the murder of Ryan near his home and the subsequent incidents at his funeral.
A massive investigation by gardai, codenamed Operation Ambience, has highlighted the close links between Ryan's faction and criminality.
Ryan had been hailed by the dissidents as a republican idealist, who spent much of his time trying to drive drug dealers off the streets.
However, gardai are satisfied that Ryan had been taking on the crime gangs to force them to pay him a slice of their profits.
Kinsella is thought to have been singled out by his attackers because he was friendly with Ryan and his associates.
Since the funeral paramilitary display, which placed the dissidents under an intense public spotlight, there is understood to have been a lot of recriminations within the organisation over Ryan's high profile and publicity.
As a result of the internal rows, a group is now emerging that wants the dissidents to focus more on terrorism rather than local disputes.
The Real IRA's decision to become part of a terror alliance has also meant that smaller factions will be subject to greater control and this could lead ultimately to a new power struggle within the organisation.
Kinsella, who was detained during a huge operation involving around 200 garda personnel in Dublin, Kildare and Meath, is due to appear in court again on December 11.