A leading Real IRA terrorist was killed with a shot to the head as he lay injured on a Dublin street yesterday afternoon.
The victim, 32-year-old Alan Ryan, was a senior dissident republican in the capital and he had built up a long list of enemies.
A Sligo man, Aaron Neilis from Coolaney, a member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, and described as a friend of the victim, was also shot in the legs at the scene.
A second Sligo man Paul Stewart escaped injury as the gun man ignored him.
The Irish Independent
reported that both men were gunned down while walking on the quiet Grange Lodge Avenue, Clongriffin, on the northside of Dublin, shortly after 3.30pm.
Ryan had been under Garda Special Branch surveillance since he was first arrested by armed officers at a Real IRA training camp and arms bunker at Herbertstown, Stamullen, Co Meath, in October 1999 while only a teenager.
Two gunmen approached Ryan and Neilis and one opened fire on the men hitting both men dropping them to the ground.
The gunman then walked up to Ryan as he lay on the road and shot him in the head.
Neilis was injured in the legs. Both men were rushed to Beaumont hospital, where Ryan was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
Neilis later underwent treatment for leg wounds and his condition was described as serious.
Left: Gardai and paramedics treat Alan Ryan and Alan Neilis (R) at the scene on Grange Lodge Avenue in Clongriffin, north Dublin, where they were shot by a gunman yesterday afternoon
The attackers, meanwhile, made their escape in a silver Volvo car, which was found burnt out shortly afterwards at the Hole in the Wall Road.
Both areas were immediately sealed off by gardai for a forensic examination.
Ryan became a senior figure in the Real IRA over the past decade and took charge of a group that was largely based around his home area of Donaghmede, where he lived at Grange Abbey Drive, although he also had an address in Co Carlow.
Gardai believe his killers were likely to have been hired by one of the many crime gangs that had come into conflict with Ryan over the past few years.
Ryan ran a big extortion and intimidation racket, focusing on pubs, clubs and other premises around Dublin while he also sought to take a slice of the profits built up by crime gangs from drug-trafficking and robberies.
The relationship between the two men will call into question the claims by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement who have always maintained that they are anti-crime and describe themselves as community activists.
In Sligo they have said publicly that they have never been involved in any nefarious activities.
One senior anti-terrorist officer said last night: "Ryan had a list of enemies that would fill up a page of a newspaper.
"At some stage over the past few years, he managed to clash with most of the big crime gangs around the city while at the same time falling out with many of his former colleagues in the Real IRA", he added.
The group has four "commanders" based in Belfast, Derry, the Louth Armagh border and Dublin.
Last night, gardai appealed to anybody who spotted people acting suspiciously or driving around in a silver Volvo car, in the Grange Lodge or Hole in the Wall road areas to contact them at Coolock station at 01 6664200, or on the confidential line, at 1800 666111.