The shooting of three people outside a pub in Fairview, Dublin owned by an international footballer may be linked to a turf war by door security firms, detectives signalled today.
A doorman shot in the head at The Players Lounge, run by Ireland and Hibernian striker Anthony Stokes’s family, is believed to have been the prime target.
Two bystanders caught up in the attack were hit in the chest and the back.
The doorman, Wayne Barrett, 31, from Finglas, north Dublin, was critically injured and is fighting for his life at Beaumont Hospital.
The other victims, one in his 20s and the other in his 30s, are being treated at the city’s Mater Hospital.
One is described as critically ill and the other seriously injured.
The pair were thought to be among customers having a cigarette outside the pub in Fairview when the lone gunman opened fire at around 12.30am this morning.
Detectives believe the attacker may have fired from two handguns before making off in a car that was found burnt out shortly after the attack in Dublin’s south inner city.
One line of inquiry is that the shooting could be linked to a row between organised criminals and former Provisional IRA members over who controls door security in the area.
But a senior Garda source stressed: “It could be down to an individual row as well. There are always rows in bars.”
The Stokes family are believed to have taken over the pub – formerly known as the Fairview Inn – around two years ago.
It was transformed into a sports-themed bar with scores of television screens for live matches.
Former Arsenal and Sunderland player Anthony, who was recently nominated for the PFA Young Player of Year award in Scotland, is often spotted in the pub when visiting home.
The gunman was dressed in dark clothing and a balaclava and is described as being around 5ft 8in or 5ft 9in.
It is thought he fled the scene in a waiting getaway car, a red-coloured Volkswagen Golf, which was discovered burnt out in Verschoyle Court, off Mount Street, in the south inner city.
The car was fitted with false number plates 05-D-57078.
The scene was sealed off for technical examination by Garda forensic experts.
Detectives were also carrying out door-to-door inquiries in the Fairview and Verschoyle Court neighbourhoods.
Superintendent Joe O’Connor, of Clontarf garda station, appealed for anyone who was near The Players Lounge or who may have seen the red Volkswagen Golf making its way across the city to get in contact.
“We’ve already received quite an amount of assistance from the public but we do need to speak to more people, especially about the two scenes and the route the car may have taken,” he said.