Gardaí fear feud may escalate after Smithfield

GARDAÍ are bracing themselves for revenge attacks in a feud that saw two people shot and another man cut open at Smithfield Horse Fair last Sunday.

Injured Wesley McDonagh, who had his left arm almost cut in two, was a “very promising” boxer. The 17-year-old won a Leinster title two weeks ago and was due to compete for the national title this weekend.

His father, Charlie, said his son’s dream of competing in the Olympics was “all over now”. He said his son was an innocent victim and not involved in any feud.

Meanwhile, a man arrested with a handgun after the attacks may appear in court today.

Gardaí said the violence at the fair, in Dublin’s north inner city, was part of a Traveller feud that has been going on for years.

Fights and stand-offs have flared across the country, including in Waterford, Galway, Portlaoise, Athlone and Dublin. It is not linked to a separate feud in Waterford. It is understood a priest has tried to mediate.

The side that carried out the shootings and the machete attack itself comprises two families, one originally from Waterford and the other from Limerick. They have been living for nearly two years in caravans in Tallaght, Dublin.

These families now fear revenge attacks from the other side: an extended family based in Offaly and Laois.

Gardaí in Tallaght are gearing up for a violent backlash from them.

Gardaí in north Dublin investigating the violence have identified the two gunmen and the machete-wielding attacker and are tracking them down.

A man arrested in a flats complex not far from Smithfield with a handgun on Sunday is expected to be charged with possessing a firearm. He is thought to have been paid by the gunman to hide a handgun, which had been fired twice. An improvised shotgun was found at Smithfield earlier.

The two men injured by pellets from the shotgun are from the same family in Co Offaly.

Wesley McDonagh, from Portlaoise, won the senior underage competition in Leinster two weeks ago and was to fight for the national title this weekend.

“He would have been one of the most promising boxers in the club, which is saying something in a club of high achievement,” said Willie Mahon, secretary of Michael’s Boxing Club in Athy, Co Kildare.

Meanwhile, the father of one of the shotgun victims said his son was not involved in any feud: “He was just in the fair and someone came in and fired shots indiscriminately and he got caught up.”

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