Belfast Telegraph

Man shot dead in school run attack

A man was shot dead and his partner injured in a gangland-style attack after the school run.

Benny Whitehouse was targeted as he returned to his car in a residential street in Balbriggan, north Co Dublin, when a gunman fired a volley of shots through the driver's side window.

The 35-year-old was hit by several bullets.

His partner suffered a wound in her upper thigh and was said to be in a stable condition in Beaumont Hospital in the north of the capital.

Gardai said Mr Whitehouse was shot several times in Clonard Street at about 9am and appealed for witnesses.

The victim is believed to have two children and had just finished the school run when he was targeted a short distance from the St Peter and St Paul's national school.

His body lay under plastic sheets for several hours after the murder.

A dark-coloured Volkswagen Polo , with a smashed driver's side window, was at the side of the road where the shooting happened.

A Ford Focus, believed to have been used as a getaway car, was found burnt out several miles away.

The killing was reportedly linked to a wider gang feud in the north Dublin area which has escalated over the last year. There were also clashes between people involved in the dispute in the vicinity of the school over the last year.

The shooting so close to a school and at that time of the morning has echoes of a separate, unrelated gangland-style murder of a dissident republican in late March after he had dropped a youngster at a creche.

Declan Smith, in his 30s, originally from Belfast and believed to have connections to murdered Real IRA boss Alan Ryan, died a week after being shot after leaving a little boy at a north Dublin playschool.

The atmosphere at the shooting scene in Balbriggan today was extremely tense, with relatives and friends of the dead man involved in minor scuffles with gardai.

One older woman, believed to be the dead man's mother, and another man, believed to be a brother, attempted to see his body as it lay under sheets on a footpath.

Mr Whitehouse, a member of the travelling community, had a number of convictions including one for driving under the influence of drugs and illegal hunting of animals with dogs in north Dublin.

Gardai sealed off the area, a residential part of the town, for several hours after the incident and the route was closed to traffic as initial forensic and technical examinations of the scene took place.

The State Pathologist's office was also notified.

Investigating officers appealed for witnesses to contact them at Balbriggan station, any other station or on the confidential line.

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