THE chief suspect for shooting an innocent 16-year-old boy is on bail for serious firearms offences.
Gardai fought hard to keep the man in custody during a court hearing last year but failed to prevent him getting bail, the Herald can reveal.
Stephen Hynes was still recovering in hospital today from the injuries he suffered during Tuesday night's drive-by shooting in Crumlin.
The 27-year-old gun suspect, who was arrested yesterday in Courtown, Co Wexford remains in garda custody. A second man, (also 27) was picked up by gardai in Dublin and has a history of dangerous driving offences.
Both suspects are originally from the Crumlin area of Dublin but have strong connections to the Tallaght area.
The suspected gunman was caught with two handguns in an incident last year when his car was searched at a garda checkpoint.
At a court hearing, gardai outlined major concerns about him getting bail but he managed to be freed on a number of strict conditions.
A source said: "The bail laws in this country need to be seriously tightened up. There is definitely a feeling that the courts do not give due consideration to the concerns of gardai."
The intended target of the gun attack is believed to be Karl Fay (21), who survived a gun attack at Milltown, Dublin, in April 2011, and a pipe-bomb incident last October.
Both men in garda custody today are linked to the Milltown shooting in which Fay was lucky to escape with his life after being lured to a park and shot in the stomach.
The pipe-bomb incident is believed to be linked to a separate disagreement with a young Crumlin criminal who is now locked up for unrelated gang offences.
A bomb containing a timer and detonator was thrown through a back window of a house at Lismore Road, Crumlin, into a bathroom sink.
No one was injured in the attack, which led to the house being evacuated.
Earlier that night Fay and two of his close associates were allegedly chased through Crumlin by a gunman and forced to go into Crumlin Garda Station, but then refused to make a statement about the incident to officers.
Stephen Hynes was shot when the gunman opened fire in the direction of Fay, Stephen and a 17-year-old boy who were chatting outside Fay's home at Lismore Road.
Two shotgun blasts were fired at the group which led to Stephen being hit in the back by seven pellets.
Fay and an associate had been previously charged with the July 2008 murder of a Declan Rooney in Crumlin, who died after being beaten with a snooker cue and a golf club.
However, the trial collapsed at the Central Criminal Court in 2009, after a 12-year-old key witness said he was unable to identify the killers.