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Gardai probe shooting link to bitter feud

A bitter feud which has seen a number of violent tit-for-tat incidents in Rathfarnham has spread to a normally peaceful village in Co Wexford.

The feud could have led to the murder of a Dublin man aged in his late 40s when five shots were fired at him at a house near Ballygarrett, Co Wexford, days before Christmas.

The intended target, Rathfarnham man Joseph Connors, was hit once in the left leg when a stolen car with two gunmen in it pulled into the driveway of his holiday home.

Mr Connors fled into nearby fields, where a relative found him and rushed him to hospital where he was treated for a flesh wound to his leg.

It is understood that Mr Connors refused to make a statement or complaint to investigating officers from Gorey garda station.

He is not considered an active participant in the feud.

Sources said he is now in hiding and spent the Christmas period at "an off-site location".

A senior source told the Herald that detectives are investigating whether Mr Connors had been led into a trap by a man well-known to him.

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"Gardai are looking at whether the victim was enticed to go down to Wexford and whether he was set-up. This is part of a Traveller feud," he said.

"He had a lucky escape, and gardai are confident that this shooting has been part of a feud that has been bubbling away in the Rathfarnham area for the last number of months.

"It has seen a number of assaults and damage to property incidents.

"However, this is an escalation, and a lot of planning went into this crime."

After Mr Connors was shot, the gunmen, who were wearing balaclavas, abandoned a silver Volkswagen Passat in a nearby laneway and set it on fire.

It is not known how they made their escape.

Gardai secured the scene of the shooting at the house, as well as the road where the car was found, and armed officers went to the hospital as part of their investigation.

They also gave personal security advice.

Gardai are anxious to hear from anyone who was in the Ballygarrett to Kilmuckridge area on the afternoon of Thursday, December 19, and may have seen the Passat, which had been stolen a few days previously in Dublin.

kfoy@herald.ie


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