DETECTIVES investigating the shooting murder of a criminal have identified a chief suspect in the case.
The violent death of Christy Daly (47) in Co Offaly is the first gun murder of the year, and investigating officers believe they know the exact chain of events that led to the gruesome death.
Gardai believe that Mr Daly was brutally beaten and then shot eight times almost a week before his body was found in a drain in Bog Road, Kilbride, 4km outside Clara, Co Offaly, at 8.30am on Tuesday..
Despite major progress being made in the investigation, sources say that "it will be painstaking and thorough" and it is not expected that arrests will happen for some time.
"We know where we are going on this one and it's linked to Mr Daly's involvement in feuds and criminality rather than the allegations of sexual abuse against him," a source said.
"This individual had strong links to the local drugs trade and was being blamed after a quantity of drugs went missing from a dealer in the Tullamore area over the Christmas period."
Daly's body was found sitting upright in a six-foot drain on a bog lane, near where he had been living in a caravan since his release from the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise on December 7.
Gardai became concerned for his well-being after the caravan and two vehicles were found burnt-out on Friday, close to where his body was found.
Daly had not been seen in the area since Sunday week, when he was known to have visited relatives in Navan, Co Meath.
Gardai think he may have been murdered after he had returned home late that night or in the early hours of the following day.
Daly, who formerly lived in Clara and neighbouring Ballycumber, is the father of six children ranging in age from seven to 23.
He was one of a family of 11.
He was sentenced to six years, with three of those suspended, in November 2012 after being convicted of false imprisonment.
The sentence was backdated to September 2011, when he was first remanded in custody at Cloverhill prison. He was later transferred to the Midlands Prison.
Daly was previously investigated for the alleged sexual abuse of three females, including two children, but the DPP decided that there was not enough evidence to prosecute him.