GANGSTER Declan 'Fat Deccy' Smith remained in a critical condition today in a Dublin hospital after the attempt on his life that saw half his face shot off.
The 31-year-old was gunned down outside a creche in the northside of the city shortly after nine o'clock on Friday morning. He lost his left eye, cheek and jaw in the daylight attack.
He had just dropped his son off at the door of Little Rainbows childcare centre in Holywell Road, Donaghmede, when he was blasted in the face by a balaclava-wearing thug.
Smith was only feet from his parked car when he was approached by the gunman.
The would-be assassin pointed the sawn-off shotgun towards his face and shot at close range.
Smith was transferred shortly afterwards to Beaumont Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.
He has been placed in an induced coma, but it is possible that he could remain indefinitely on a life-support machine. He is under armed guard.
The Belfast native was known to be a close friend of the murdered Real IRA leader Alan Ryan. The Herald had previously revealed that Ryan was on route to visit Smith when he was gunned down in Clongriffin 18 months ago.
In the wake of Ryan's death, Smith had attempted to fill his place by becoming the leader of the Dublin branch of the Real IRA.
However, after an internal financial row he was shot in the legs and spent more than a year in hiding. It is understood that he had only recently returned to Coolock.
The Herald reported last week that sources had revealed that it is "most likely" that the gang involved in the hit on Smith were from north Dublin and have been involved in armed robberies of cash-in-transit vans.
Before Ryan's death, he and Smith had kidnapped and tortured a senior member of that gang in an attempt to steal their weapons. It is understood that since that incident the gang have sworn revenge.
None of the young children who attend the creche witnessed the attempted murder.
A staff member said on Friday afternoon that "everyone was fine" and that they were focusing on contacting the children's parents.