A MURDER hunt was stepped up last night after the skeletal remains discovered in a shallow grave at the weekend were positively identified as those of missing gang victim James Kenny McDonagh.
Dental records were used to confirm the identification yesterday afternoon after earlier tests had failed to be conclusive.
Gardai believe that Mr Kenny McDonagh (28), an unemployed father from Islandbridge Court, near Kilmainham, was murdered after an argument with a notorious crime figure in west Dublin. They think he was abducted and shot dead and that his body was then dumped in the Dublin mountains.
Mr Kenny McDonagh went missing on October 27, 2010 and his car, a wine-coloured Mazda 626, was found burnt out at Lock Road, Milltown, between Peamount Hospital and the now derelict Polly Hops pub in Newcastle, Co Dublin.
He was last seen in Bluebell, a few hours before the car was located.
Gardai believe that Mr Kenny McDonagh had been involved in an incident involving the vicious criminal at the Memorial Park in Ballyfermot the previous April. It was not reported to the gardai at the time.
The victim was not closely linked to any crime gang and was regarded as unlucky to have fallen foul of "the wrong guy".
Members of the family visited the scene of the shallow grave on Monday at Slievenabawnoge, on the old Military Road, Tallaght.
Initial tests established that the remains were those of a man aged between 20 and 30 and that the remains were likely to have been in the grave for up to two years.
Officers from the Dublin South division were last night working closely with south inner-city detectives who spearheaded the initial investigation into the man's disappearance.
Shortly after the car was located, gardai focused their search for the missing man on ground near Newcastle, where the car had been found.
But after that proved fruitless, inquiries were extended across west and south Dublin.
Information gathered by gardai indicated that he had been murdered on the orders of the crime gang leader.
But officers stressed that they had followed up a number of lines of inquiry since then.
Following the discovery of the remains, progress in the investigation will now be reviewed by senior officers, who are being backed up by detectives from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.