Further bloodshed feared after John Gilligan's bodyguard shot dead

A Garda forensic officer examines the burnt-out car used in the shooting of Dougie Moran at Glen Vale, Lucan, Co Dublin. Pictures: Stephen Collins

Gardaí fear further bloodshed following the shooting dead of a well-known criminal who provided protection for former crime boss John Gilligan since his release from prison.

The murder of Stephen Douglas ‘Dougie’ Moran comes just a fortnight after Gilligan himself was seriously injured when he was shot four times while attending a christening party at his brother’s home.

Moran, 46, was shot several times by a lone gunman at his home at Earlsfort View, Lucan, west Dublin at around 7.30pm on Saturday evening. He was rushed to Tallaght Hospital, but was pronounced dead a short time later.

The Limerick native drove an armour-plated car and had just stepped out of it to walk the few yards to the front door of his heavily fortified home when the gunman struck.

He had used the same vehicle to drive around John Gilligan since his release from prison last October after serving 17 years in jail on drug trafficking charges.

Gilligan, 61, remains in hospital after the attempt on his life and is facing a lengthy recovery. He has already had several surgeries and is expected to need more.

Although he no longer has a gang structure around him or any criminal enterprise of note, his life is believed to remain in danger from criminals wary of his attempts to re-establish himself and from others whose operations were disrupted following the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin.

Gilligan was acquitted of the murder, but the massive Garda crackdown that followed her death and the establishment of the Criminal Assets Bureau made life difficult for many of Gilligan’s contemporaries.

Gardaí have not yet determined if Dougie Moran’s killing was related to Gilligan to serve as a warning to anyone who might try to assist him get back on his feet.

It could also stem from his own separate criminal activities. Moran who once owned security and cleaning companies, and who was co-owner of a number of pubs, was involved in racketeering.

He was also a close associate of the McCarthy-Dundon gang in Limerick and was a suspect in two murders linked to the gang.

His murder appears to have been well planned and a car thought connected to the attack was found so badly burned out that gardaí had yet to establish its make or model last night.

However, his house was well-equipped with CCTV cameras and detectives have begun examining footage for any recording of the gunman during the attack or in preceding days.

The attack, which followed a shooting incident in Ballyfermot last Thursday in which a father and his grown-up son were injured, prompted calls by Fianna Fáil for a specialist Garda unit to be set up to tackle gun crime in the area.

“This is a shocking escalation of gun crime in west Dublin.

“It’s clear that immediate intervention is needed before more lives are lost,” said the party’s justice spokesman, Niall Collins.

“These shootings are happening in busy, densely populated, well-established residential communities. It’s causing enormous anxiety to local residents, particularly older people living alone and families with young children.

“The minister for justice needs to take an interest in what is happening here and contact the Garda commissioner immediately to plan an appropriate response.”

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