A career criminal who gardai believe was recruited by a northside drugs gang to murder its main target is a convicted sex offender, the Herald can reveal.
The veteran criminal (55), who is originally from Tallaght but has been living in Co Wexford, was one of the three suspects arrested by armed gardai when they foiled a murder attempt on a 27-year-old Dublin criminal in the Raheny area on Saturday afternoon.
All three - including a father and son with close links to murdered drug dealer Sean Little - were questioned at north Dublin garda stations after the arrest operation.
The 55-year-old is due to appear before court this morning charged in connection with the case, while the father and son were last night released without charge and a file will be prepared for the DPP.
Sources have told the Herald that the convicted sex offender had been enlisted by the Coolock-based mob to carry out the shooting and he was arrested with a gun and spare clothes, as well as a can of petrol.
"The gang who organised this hit have plenty of cash and contacts in the criminal underworld - this dangerous individual agreed to work for them but he was intercepted on Saturday," a senior source said.
The Tallaght man is on the sex offenders register after he was jailed over a decade ago for the brutal sexual assault of a woman in Dublin.
Since then he has run into trouble with the law for failing to comply with sex offender legislation but he is also known to gardai for offences such as assault, robbery and drug dealing.
The heroin addict has links to Daniel McDonnell (24), serving a life sentence for the gun murder of tragic teen Melanie McCarthy McNamara in Tallaght more than seven years ago.
It is understood the arrested man has previously been warned of threats against his life and moved to Co Wexford for this reason.
Gardai carried out a number of searches of properties linked to the suspect in Co Wexford on Saturday evening but no additional arrests were made.
The target of the foiled murder attempt is a Dublin criminal who has worked for the Kinahan cartel and is also linked to the 'Mr Flashy' drugs gang.
He has been arrested by detectives probing the feud shooting of James 'Mago' Gately in 2017. The north Dublin man has been blamed for involvement in an escalating dispute in the Coolock area, including the murder of Sean Little.
Little was lured to a laneway near Balbriggan in May before being shot dead.
Associates of Little have blamed the under-threat hitman for involvement in the murder and were targeting him in a revenge hit when they were arrested.
Bizarrely he took a lie detector test to support his claim that he was not involved in Little's murder but the victim's associates are continuing to target him.
In fact, was being blamed for involvement in Little's murder within days of it happening and during the summer a 26-year-old close pal of Little's from the Kilbarrack area was questioned about conspiring to murder the target as part of another foiled plot.
He was later released without charge but gardai, including specialist units such as the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and the Emergency Response Unit, who were both involved in Saturday's operation, have been keeping a constant presence in Coolock.
The hit attempt is part of a feud in Coolock involving three different factions, while shootings and explosive incidents in Ballymun are also connected to the dispute.
It is the second time in two months gardai have foiled a murder plot linked to feuding.