There are fears of a major escalation in gangland tensions after the home of a notorious criminal was shot up just minutes after a sledgehammer attack on a house owned by a rival.
Our photo shows the sitting- room window of the family home of gangster Paul Rice (43) in Mayberry Park, Tallaght, just hours after yesterday's gun attack at 2.15am.
Sources say Rice was in the house, having returned from the US earlier this week.
"This is a very significant development. Rice will not take kindly to his home being shot up and gardai are working on the theory that the shooting is linked to an earlier attack on a house in Dublin 12," a source said.
Half an hour earlier, thugs attacked the property in Dublin 12 and are suspected of using a sledgehammer to break in the door of the property, as well as throwing a stone through a window.
The intended target of the attack – a man in his late 30s who is originally from Cabra – was not there at the time.
The trafficker has been the prime target of Operation Vulcan, which led to seven arrests and 30 searches in February 2012.
"This seems like a tit-for-tat situation and that is a big worry," said a source.
Paul Rice and his crew, who include Gerard 'Hatchet' Kavanagh, previously told slain Real IRA gang boss Alan Ryan to "f*** off" when the RIRA came looking for protection money in 2011.
But he has also ran into "serious bother" with the new IRA alliance, which has been trying to extort cash from him and even put him on top of a death list earlier this year.
Rice had been enlisted by Ireland's richest international drugs syndicate to try to recoup hundreds of thousands of euros that is owed to them.
Christy Kinahan's organisation had turned to Rice and he embarked on a campaign of intimidation.
However, there is speculation that Rice is no longer working with the Kinahan mob, which could change the entire dynamic of drugs gang activity in the capital, say sources.
Rice's most serious conviction was when he was jailed for 10 years in July 1995 after pleading guilty to the robbery of a bank in which shots were fired.
He escaped on horseback after the hold-up and a security guard was kicked and beaten with a lump hammer.
Rice's most serious brush with gardai since his release from prison came when he was arrested by gardai investigating a kidnap and torture incident at a house in Lucan in October 2010.
The victim was beaten and scalded with boiling water, but refused to complain to gardai.
The man had been abducted from his home near Magherafelt, Co Derry, and then brought to a house in Dublin.
He managed to escape from the property at Tandy's Lane, in Lucan, after his captors fell asleep.
The kidnap victim staggered to Lucan Garda Station half-naked and covered in blood and raised the alarm.
Three men were arrested.
Rice was released after spending two days in garda custody and will not face charges in relation to the incident.