Gardaí have not ruled out the possibility that a Limerick gang suspected of the murder of 47-year-old John Ryan in Limerick on July 7 in an ongoing feud may be linked to the shooting of 46-year-old Anthony Kelly in Kilrush.
Mr Kelly, married with a grown-up family, lives in a luxurious home in Kilrush. He is known to gardaí and the Criminal Assets Bureau successfully targeted him for over 1m six years ago.
Mr Kelly was making a cup of tea in the kitchen of his home at 11.10pm on Thursday night when a number of shots were fired from an automatic hand gun through a rear window. He managed to make a local 999 call to the gardaí, who were on the scene within minutes.
Mr Kelly was shot in the chest and arm and was rushed to the Ennis General Hospital by ambulance before being transferred to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.
The victim’s condition was described as stable by a hospital spokesperson yesterday.
Checkpoints were set up over a wide area as gardaí mounted a hunt for the gunman. Gardaí believe that the shooting was a murder attempt.
Ennis Superintendent John Kerin said: “We are keeping an open mind as to who was involved in the shooting at this stage and we have not ruled out a link with the ongoing feud in Limerick.”
Gardaí have appealed for witnesses to the incident. “We are particularly anxious to hear from anyone who was in the Kilrush area from 10pm-12am who may have seen people acting suspiciously or vehicles being driven at high speed between Kilrush and Ennis,” said Supt Kerin.
The scene of the shooting was sealed off for forensic examination as gardaí began a house-to-house investigation.
Cameramen from both RTÉ and TV3 who were covering the shooting were allegedly threatened by a number of men.
Gardaí say that while no formal complaint was made, they were taking the matter seriously and a man is being interviewed.
Journalists were advised by gardaí not to go near the scene for their own safety. “We all felt very intimidated,” said one witness.