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RIRA gang kidnap then shoot man

THE Real IRA abducted and shot a man in a brutal punishment attack in Dublin.

THE Real IRA abducted and shot a man in a brutal punishment attack in Dublin.

Ronan Connolly (28) was kidnapped at gunpoint by a gang and then bundled into a van.

When he attempted to escape, his captors opened fire.

Sources say the incident was a “punishment beating” which spiralled out of control.

Connolly is the younger brother of a leading RIRA member who is behind bars facing murder charges.

Detectives in the capital are now on high alert after the incident in Inchicore on Tuesday night.

Panicked

Connolly escaped serious injury when his captors apparently panicked and fled.

The abduction is linked to a campaign by dissident terrorists who are targeting former associates as part of a “clean-up” of the illegal organisation. “This incident falls very much into the narrative of the so-called revamp of the Real IRA,” a senior source explained.

“They are carrying out kidnappings, beatings and shootings in an attempt to get rid of those who they no longer trust.”

Connolly, who has numerous convictions and is from Bluebell, Dublin, was abducted in Inchicore at around 10.30pm on Tuesday.

The gang tied his hands together with wire and brought him around 12km to the Slade Road in Saggart.

After attempting to escape, Connolly was shot. The gang then fled the scene, allowing Connolly to raise the alarm.

Paramedics arrived on the scene and he was treated for gunshot wounds to his hand.

Sources say the abduction of Ronan Connolly was orchestrated to send a firm message to his older brother, Sean.

The 34-year-old is the chief suspect in the murder of gang boss Eamon Kelly, who was gunned down near his home on Furry Park Road, Killester, in December. He is being held in Portlaoise Prison awaiting trial.

Sean Connolly attempted to take control of the Real IRA in Dublin following the death of notorious gangster Alan Ryan last October.

However, his attempt to rise to the top of the organisation alarmed senior figures in the North.

As revealed by the Herald, IRA bosses in the North have ordered the "weeding out" of members who they deem to be a risk. Sean Connolly falls into this category, sources say, with Wednesday's abduction of his younger brother being viewed as a message to Connolly that he is no longer welcome in the organisation.

While not at the same level as his older brother, Ronan Connolly has notched up a series of convictions. He was given a seven-month sentence in September for handling stolen property.

 

Hospital

And in June 2012, he was caught in possession of a vice grip, which he had planned to use in a burglary.

After the kidnapping, gardai questioned Connolly while he was in hospital, but he has refused to make a formal statement, claiming that he "didn't see the faces" of his attackers.

"It's frustrating for officers involved but this incident is still very much under investigation as is this threat to target other dissidents," said a source.

Gardai are now braced for more bloodshed as shootings, kneecappings and severe beatings are doled out to once high-ranking members of the Dublin branch of the organisation.

In January, a key henchman to Alan Ryan – Deccy Smith – was blasted in the leg.

The attack on Smith follows the shooting of alleged Real IRA man Nathan Kinsella last November. Gardai are now braced for chaos, with splinter groups forming as the mob's Northern-based leadership tries to exert control over the gang that has been in disarray since Ryan's murder.

noconnor@herald.ie


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