A WEEKEND attack on the chief lieutenant of slain gang boss Eamon Dunne took place after a row with dissident republicans.
Brian O'Reilly, who was a pallbearer at The Don's funeral was sprayed by semi-automatic fire in a pub on Saturday night, but miraculously escaped with his life.
The 41-year-old was singled out by two gunmen who approached him at Donough's pub in Bettystown, co Meath and shot him four times.
He ran into the toilets to duck for cover but was pursued by the two gunmen who shot him repeatedly in the upper body, narrowly missing vital organs.
Eight bullets in total were fired and a motive being examined by gardai is that Real IRA linked criminals had tried to extort money from the Don's west Dublin drug gang.
It is understood that the victim ignored the Real IRA threats and this may be the reason why he was targeted.
The North Dublin gang has a history of extortion from drug dealers, and wanted a six-figure sum from the gang formerly run by the Don.
Brian O'Reilly, who is well known to gardai, was told in May that a threat had been made against his life after a similar threat had been made on two crime brothers from a closely linked to Dunne's gang by the same group.
O'Reilly, who is originally from Ballymun but now lives in Co Meath, was Dunne's closest confidante and has stabilised Dunne's gang in the wake of his murder three months ago.
He once owned a security company, Shelneart Limited, with Dunne in East Wall, Dublin, which was dissolved in 2008.
The shooting victim was previously arrested in March 2007 by gardai investigating the murder of Marlo Hyland three months earlier.
Despite the similarities, Saturday's attack is not believed to be linked to the murder of Dunne on April 23 at the Faussagh House pub in Cabra.
Dunne (34), who was believed to have been linked to 17 gangland murders, was killed as he celebrated a friend's 40th birthday with his teenage daughter in attendance.
Gardai investigating Saturday's gun attack have been examining CCTV footage from Donough's pub.
Owner Donal McDonough, told of how a brave customer threw a bar stool at the gunmen, who entered and exited through the front door of the bar.
"I could see he [O'Reilly] had at least one wound to his left shoulder and there was blood on his face, but he was conscious and didn't seem too badly hurt," said Mr McDonough.
After fleeing the pub, the gunmen ran past a Tesco Service Station as they made their escape where one of them threatened a member of staff
The victim was rushed by ambulance to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, where his injuries are described as "non-life threatening".
The assailants are described as being between 5'7" and 5'10" in height, one of heavy build and one of thin build. Both men had scarves over their faces.
Both attackers are believed to be in their 20s and gardai in Laytown are anxious to speak to any witnesses or members of the public who saw anything suspicious in the area prior to the shooting to contact them on 041 9813320 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 11.