A HITMAN was paid €20k to murder a Dublin criminal in a revenge attack.
Michael Devoy (42) – who was wearing a bullet-proof vest – was shot three times and dumped on the side of a road just two days after he was released from prison.
The Herald can reveal that the first gangland murder victim of the year was the chief suspect for a botched hit on one of the country's biggest drug dealers last October.
Detectives believe Devoy was lured and shot dead as revenge for the attempted murder of heroin trafficker Greg Lynch (right).
Devoy was shot three times in the head before his body was dumped on the side of the road at Fox Hill Lane, Tallaght.
Last week, the Herald revealed Devoy was the intended target of a pipe bomb incident in Ballymun in which a "highly sophisticated device" was placed near his home.
The suspected gunman from Louth is also believed to have carried out the pipe bomb attack.
The life of the career criminal came to a brutal end shortly before midnight on Saturday when gardai on routine patrol noticed a vehicle parked suspiciously at the side of the road.
A senior source said: "At first the gardai thought the occupants of the car were a courting couple or something like that, but when they saw the patrol car they sped off and managed to evade the officers.
"The gardai went back and then discovered Devoy's body dumped on the side of the road – he had been shot a number of times.
"It seems he was not in the car when the gardai came across it."
In a bizarre twist, the Herald can reveal that for a number of hours in the aftermath of the murder, gardai were working on the theory that the victim was another criminal from the Tallaght area.
However, when they called to his home yesterday morning, detectives discovered he was alive and well. "In fairness, they do look very alike and Devoy did not have ID on him," a source said.
Detectives believe the murder could spark Ireland's next bloody gangland feud, with associates of Devoy considered among the most dangerous gangsters in the country.
They include his jailed younger brother Derek 'Bottler' Devoy (31).
The murdered man had close links with other Ballymun criminals and the Finglas gang suspected of the gun murder of Tallaght criminal Carl Wynne last summer.
Intelligence received by detectives several weeks ago indicates Devoy was the bungling hitman who shot Greg Lynch in the face outside Hanlon's pub in the early hours of last October 13.
Lynch is a key member of a dangerous drugs gang that also includes Paul Rice and Gerard 'Hatchet' Kavanagh – a mob with close links to the international crime syndicate controlled by godfather Christy Kinahan who is based on the Costa del Sol.
In the aftermath of the attempted hit on Lynch, the gunman, who wore a balaclava, ran towards a waiting BMW and continued firing back towards the pub, hitting the three women. The car was found burnt out in Walkinstown.