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Two held after man linked to deadly feud is shot dead in remote laneway


Garda crime scene officers at the shooting scene in Hill’s Lane

Garda crime scene officers at the shooting scene in Hill’s Lane

Garda crime scene officers at the shooting scene in Hill’s Lane

A man who was shot six times in a country lane in the Republic was previously linked to an attack on a gangster known as 'Fat' Freddie Thompson.

Neil Fitzgerald (35), from Dufferin Avenue, off Dublin's South Circular Road, spent several years in prison for pointing a loaded gun at three gardai and was released just two weeks ago.

He was involved in the deadly Crumlin-Drimnagh feud, which claimed more than a dozen lives. Gardai regarded him as a close associate of one of the feud leaders, Brian Rattigan.

Yesterday evening gardai arrested two people - a man and a woman, both aged in their mid-20s - in relation to the shooting. They were arrested under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act and were last night being held in Tallaght and Rathfarnham garda stations.

Fitzgerald was shot in the head and chest after he was lured into Hill's Lane, at Crooksling, off the N81 road between Tallaght and Blessington.

Gardai believe the murder may be linked to a feud-related incident in which shots were fired into the home of Freddie Thompson in the south inner city in February 2008.

The gun used in the attack on Thompson's house was found in the possession of Fitzgerald when he was arrested the following July, five days after he was spotted by officers at a checkpoint speeding on the wrong side of the road.

Fitzgerald pleaded guilty to possession of a semi-automatic pistol and ammunition and producing a firearm while resisting arrest at Dolphin's Barn on July 23, 2008.

He also pleaded guilty to driving a stolen car and five counts of dangerous driving on July 18, 2008.

However, despite the deceased's links to Fat Freddie, the murder is not thought to be linked to the Kinahan-Hutch feud that has gripped Dublin's inner city in recent months. "There is nothing to indicate at this stage that it is connected to the recent killings in other parts of the city," said Superintendent Peter Duff of Tallaght Garda Station.

Fitzgerald's body was discovered by a passer-by in a rural laneway outside Tallaght yesterday morning. It is understood that the he was shot six times in both the body and the head.

A local woman in Crooksling heard "rapid fire" gunfire shortly after midnight but wrongly assumed it was hunters in the area.

"Because we are in the country it [hunting] is not unusual," she said.

"You don't expect that on your doorstep. It's dreadful, that's someone's son," she said.

"As soon as I saw all the vans [in the morning], I knew instantly.

"Whoever brought him up there knew exactly where they were going, they knew that lane," she said.

"It's a very quiet area and people are shocked that this could have happened there," said one local man.

A post-mortem is due to be carried out today.

Belfast Telegraph