Gardai fear a fresh outbreak of violence involving dissident republicans after a champion bodybuilder survived a bid to murder him outside his gym.
The victim, Sean Enright (33), from Clonsilla, Dublin, underwent emergency surgery at the Mater Hospital after the savage attack. His condition was described last night as "serious but stable".
Mr Enright was shot four times in the back as he was walking into the Universal Warrior gym -- which he part-owns -- at Ballyboggan business park in Glasnevin, on the northside of the city.
Gardai believe the shooting may be linked to another murder attempt on the northside on Tuesday morning when Derek McLoughlin (48) escaped unhurt after his attacker's gun jammed.
Mr McLoughlin, from Ardgillan Lawns, Balbriggan, had a handgun pointed at his head while he sat behind the wheel of his car outside a shopping centre in Swords. The gunman fled on foot when he discovered that he could not fire his weapon.
Gardai think both men were targeted by members of the new terrorist alliance, the New IRA, whose members include associates of former Dublin Real IRA leader Alan Ryan, who was shot dead in the Irish capital last year.
The two men were both close friends of the murdered gangland boss Eamon Dunne and may have been singled out because of their connections to him and some of his associates.
It was the second time that Mr Enright survived an attempt on his life.
One of his clients in the gym was Alan 'Fatpuss' Bradley, who is currently serving a jail sentence for his part in an attempted cash-in-transit van heist involving €880,000.
Bradley was one of six men, including Eamon Dunne, who were caught and charged after a special garda operation.
A father of three, Mr Enright was walking into the gym at around 10.40am yesterday when he was approached from behind by a gunman, who fired four shots into his body, then ran to a waiting car, driven by an accomplice, as his victim slumped to the ground.
Despite his severe injuries, Mr Enright was able to talk to ambulance staff as he was rushed to the Mater Hospital.
Gardai at Cabra last night appealed for help from anybody who spotted a silver-coloured Mini, with a northern registration plate, leaving the scene in the direction of Finglas. They asked anyone with information about the shooting to contact them at Cabra (01 6667400) or on the confidential line, 1800 666 111.
Shortly after the murder of Ryan in September, the leadership of the New IRA alliance ordered a number of gun attacks in the capital. Gardai warned several possible targets, including Mr Enright, that they could be in danger.
In January 2011, Mr Enright cheated death after he was shot several times in the chest, arm and leg with a handgun.
He was singled out by a gunman, who pumped nine shots into his blue Golf car after he parked it outside his house at Rusheeny village in Clonsilla.
As the gunman fled, the bodybuilder stumbled into the house to seek help and when an ambulance arrived, he declined a stretcher and walked into the vehicle to take him to hospital.
Mr Enright, who is from the Carnlough area of Cabra, is well established in bodybuilding circles and has built up a successful business in his gym.
In 2008 while working as a security guard at a pub in Tallaght, he received serious stab wounds when he was attacked by a man, whom he had earlier barred from the premises.
The scars from the 2011 gun attack were still clearly visible on his chest when he appeared at a body-building competition in late 2011.
There was no answer yesterday afternoon at Mr Enright's house, which is well protected by numerous CCTV cameras.
His father, John declined to comment when contacted by phone.