A handgun was taken from the scene of a fatal road crash in which a man linked to a west Dublin feud died.
Shane Fowler (35) was killed after the motorcycle he was riding smashed into a pole on Dunsink Park, Finglas, at around 3pm yesterday.
He was brought to James Connolly Memorial Hospital where he was treated for serious neck injuries. However, he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Immediately after the fatal collision, a firearm was discovered as paramedics from the Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) were treating Mr Fowler at the scene.
However, before gardai arrived, an unknown male emerged from the crowd that had formed around the crash and picked up the handgun before fleeing the scene.
Gardai do not believe that Mr Fowler was being chased before the crash, and are now attempting to establish what led to the collision and the firearm being found.
"The victim was linked to the ongoing feud, and with a firearm being recovered gardai are trying to establish if he was on his way to carry out a hit," a source said.
Mr Fowler had been out socialising from Saturday night until hours before the fatal crash. Officers also received reports of a male driving erratically on a motorbike moments before the incident.
Gardai were called to the hospital yesterday afternoon over an alleged scuffle as grieving associates and relatives of the victim gathered at the emergency department.
A garda spokeswoman said yesterday: "Gardai in Finglas are investigating a single vehicle fatal road traffic collision that occurred this afternoon.
"Garda forensic collision investigators are currently at the scene, the road is closed and local diversions are in place."
At the scene yesterday, a blood-soaked towel was clearly visible while the motorcycle involved in the collision was shattered in two.
Mr Fowler was a very close associate of a Finglas criminal, aged in his 30s, who is involved in an ongoing dispute with a drug dealer known as 'Mr Flashy'.
The gang aligned to Mr Flashy have links to the Kinahan cartel, while the rival faction are close to members of the Hutch gang.
Mr Fowler previously survived an attempt on his life when he was shot while lying in bed with his partner.
Gunmen burst into his home on Finglaswood Road as he slept, and fired a number of shots into his body and groin.
The shooting, which took place in July 2006, is not linked to the ongoing dispute in the west Dublin suburb.
A day before that gun attack, he was involved in a violent gang attack on gardai in which officers were kicked and punched. He was later convicted of that assault.
The current feud has further escalated in recent weeks, with a number of firearm incidents reported to gardai.
In fact, the situation has become so volatile that unarmed officers have been told not to approach any of those involved in the feuding without armed support.
Several firearms have been recovered, while one man has been shot and another escaped with his life after gunmen burst into his home when he wasn't there.
The dispute has threatened to explode ever since Hutch gang-linked criminal Glen O'Toole was arrested in the Ashtown area while on his way to murder Mr Flashy last October.
O'Toole (39) was arrested by Finglas gardai with a loaded firearm, a silencer, a canister of petrol and a Halloween mask.
He was charged in relation to the arrest but died by suicide in prison a week later, and it is understood he had been threatened by the Kinahan cartel-linked drugs mob before he took his own life.
Just days after O'Toole's arrest, the Mr Flashy gang was suspected of shooting up the family home of an innocent member of the Hutch family in a revenge attack.
There were no further serious reports made to gardai until last month, when they investigated four significant firearms incidents as part of the feud.
At the beginning of April, gardai searched a house linked to an associate of Mr Flashy, where they recovered a handgun, ammunition and €10,000 of cocaine. The man went on the run, but has since been arrested and released without charge.
Days later at least nine shots were fired at a bullet-proof window of a house where members Mr Flashy's mob have stayed.
Four days later, thugs feuding with Mr Flashy burst into a house in the Mulhuddart area before firing shots through a number of closed doors.
In the home at the time was a young woman and her six-year-old son, who hid in fear as the masked men ran through the property firing shots.
Gardai believe the incident was an attempt to murder an associate of Mr Flashy.