Gardaí: Real IRA man shot in face ‘fading fast’

Gardaí say it is just “a matter of time” before dissident republican Declan Smith dies from traumatic gunshot injuries to his head.

The 32-year-old was shot in the face at close range after he dropped his child off at a creche in Donaghmede, north Dublin, last Friday morning.

Smith, originally from Belfast, has been on a life support machine since he was rushed to hospital.

Garda sources said he was “fading fast” and that it was just a “matter of turning off the machine”.

Detectives believe the shooting is the result of an internal feud within the Real IRA in north Dublin over money.

Gardaí said it would be “difficult” to pinpoint who exactly was behind it.

Senior sources said the investigation into the shooting, as well as the gangland murder of Stephen ‘Dougie’ Moran in Lucan, west Dublin, last Saturday week, will be “slow burners”, with no arrests imminent.

Moran, who was John Gilligan’s driver after the former gang boss was released from prison, was shot dead outside his heavily-fortified home in Lucan.

Detectives are following a number of lines of inquiry.

The funeral of the underworld figure, who had connections with Limerick criminals and paramilitaries, took place on Saturday, attracting hundreds of mourners, including known criminals.

The Criminal Assets Bureau is understood to be proceeding with plans to seize Moran’s home, worth an estimated €300,000.

Meanwhile, detectives in Coolock investigating the rush-hour gun attack on Smith are compiling lists of possible suspects.

Garda sources suspect the killer is from within “his own”, meaning dissident republicans in north Dublin, mostly linked with what was the Real IRA.

The terror unit “convulsed” following the murder of its Dublin leader Alan Ryan, shot dead by crime bosses in September 2012.

A number of his associates were subsequently targeted in punishment attacks, including a previous shooting on Smith in January 2013.

Many of those shootings were part of an internal “clean up operation” ordered by the overall leadership in the North.

However, detectives suspect that a local north Dublin feud is behind Friday’s shooting of Smith. They suspect the row is over money and racketeering and failing to hand over money.

Smith remains in Beaumont Hospital, the country’s specialist centre for head injuries. Gardaí believe that Smith will not survive once the life support machine is switched off.

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