A NOTORIOUS armed robber is the chief suspect in the capital's latest gang attack.
The alleged shooter has now fled into hiding after the botched hit on gym boss Sean Enright.
Gardai were this weekend closing in on the suspect – who agreed to assassinate the well-known body builder in return for a significant pay-off on a drugs debt.
The Herald can reveal that Enright (32) is now believed to have been set up by individuals known to him.
It's understood that a gang – based in Finglas, north Dublin – hired a notorious Southside armed robber to murder Enright.
But the gunman is now in fear for his own life after Enright miraculously survived the shooting despite being blasted four times.
"This gang wanted Enright dead. But despite offering a hefty sum, the gunman failed miserably and is now himself in fear of his life," said a senior source.
The suspected shooter has amassed massive drug debts and owes money "left, right and centre", according to sources.
But he has now gone into hiding after failing to murder Enright, who is expected to make a full recovery.
Enright was due to move out of intensive care at Dublin's Mater Hospital this weekend, just days after being blasted four times by a gunman at his gym at the Ballyboggan Business Centre in Finglas.
He told friends last night on Facebook: "Would slaughter a large bottle bulmmers [sic] now."
However sources emphasised that Enright's life is still very much under threat from the Real IRA, members of which were initially suspected of Wednesday's shooting.
"While the Real IRA connection was investigated, it's now believed that this is more of a personal grudge between an individual and Sean Enright. They are certainly known to each other," said a senior source.
"The assassination attempt was far from professional and the gunman is believed to be nothing more than a thug who has raided a raft of premises across Dublin," the source added.
Gardai have been trawling through CCTV evidence and are happy with the progress of the investigation.
The getaway vehicle used by the gunman was found close to the scene of the shooting.
However the would-be killers failed to burn it out properly, which influenced the gardai's decision to rule out a Real IRA connection.
"The Real IRA would not have done such a botched job," one source told the Herald.
Gardai have also discounted the possibility that the shooting is linked to an attempted hit on notorious criminal Derek McLoughlin (48).
McLoughlin, a known associate of murdered crime boss Eamon 'The Don' Dunne, was leaving a gym in Swords village on Tuesday morning when a gunman approached his vehicle.
The gunman tried twice to pull the trigger, but his weapon appeared to jam. The masked man then ran back to a people carrier, which was driven away at speed. A female officer attempted to interview McLoughlin, but he refused to make a statement.
Meanwhile, Enright is expected to make a full recovery and has been visited by family and friends in hospital.
"He's doing well and the family are just relieved that he will be back on his feet," a friend said last night.
Enright had previously been warned that his life was under threat and is known to have fallen out with a number of well-known figures.
The father-of-three survived an earlier attack on his life in 2011, when nine bullets were pumped into his car as he arrived home in Clonsilla.
He was hit six times as he ran from his car.