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don pal escapes as gun jams on hitman

AN associate of slain gang boss Eamon Dunne has escaped an attempt on his life after the gunman's weapon jammed.

Derek McLoughlin was leaving a gym in Swords village after his daily workout at 11.30am yesterday when the masked man struck.

McLoughlin is a known associate of Eamon 'The Don' Dunne. It is believed he was involved in a feud with associates of murdered Real IRA leader Alan Ryan, who was gunned down last September.

McLoughlin was in his car at the Image Health and Fitness Studio in the Castle Shopping Centre when a people carrier pulled up behind him.


A man jumped out and ran to McLoughlin's car, pointing a 9mm handgun at him.

The gunman tried twice to pull the trigger, but his weapon appeared to jam. The masked man then ran back to the people carrier, which was driven away at speed.

McLoughlin went back into the gym where he had been working out with an associate known to gardai, and left a short time later.

A female officer attempted to interview him but he refused to make a statement.

Garda sources say one line of investigation is that the attempted hit was the work of associates of slain RIRA leader Alan Ryan, but added that it was "an open investigation in its early stages".

Ryan was gunned down in Clongriffin last September after years of confrontation with Dublin criminals he had been 'taxing' on their profits.

Sources last night said it was too early to be sure of the motive for yesterday's attempted murder.

"This guy is so immersed in gangland activity. It's a possibility that it was a RIRA job, but it's not at all a certainty," said a senior source.

McLoughlin (48), a former soldier, of Ardgillan Lawns, Balbriggan, Dublin, has a history of violent crime.

Last year he received a four-year suspended sentence after being convicted of being one of six men who carried out an attack on a man at Ballymun Shopping Centre in July 2010.

He was one of the many pall-bearers at Eamon Dunne's funeral in 2010.