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Thomas McCarthy murder: Gardaí investigate if gunman shot the wrong target during 'meticulous murder'

McCarthy was shot dead at 11am yesterday morning.

Gardaí at the scene in Croftwood Park in Ballyfermot.
Gardaí at the scene in Croftwood Park in Ballyfermot.
Image: Sasko Lazarov via RollingNews.ie

GARDAÍ IN BALLYFERMOT are investigating if the man shot dead yesterday was the intended target of what sources have described as “a meticulously planned assassination”. 

Thomas McCarthy, who was in his mid-50s, was shot dead on the front porch of his mother’s home in the Croftwood Park area of Ballyfermot in Dublin at around 11am.

He was shot six times at close range by a lone gunman who had knocked on the door. McCarthy attempted to run through the house following the initial gunshots but he was shot dead at point-blank range once the gunman caught up to the injured man. 

The gunman fled the house and jumped into a blue Ford Fiesta. This car was left on Le Fanu Drive. The driver then entered a silver Skoda Octavia which was found abandoned in the Monksfield Walk area. 

Gardaí believe the shooting was carried out by organised criminal elements due to the level of planning which went into it. 

While it is early in the investigations, gardaí believe that McCarthy was killed due to an ongoing feud in the area between two drugs gangs. 

However, officers believe there was another potential target in the house at the time. Detectives will now probe if the deceased was the intended target of the attack. 

He had returned from the UK last week to visit his mother.

014 Ballyfermot Shooting Forensic teams at the scene. Source: Sasko Lazarov

There have been a number of serious incidents in relation to these local gangs and officers fear that this murder could ignite the feud which had been simmering for the last two years.

In April of this year, two well-known criminal figures were shot at in the Cedarbrook area of Cherry Orchard, just one kilometre away from yesterday’s killing. Both were uninjured in the incident.

The Ballyfermot area has seen a ratcheting up of tensions in recent months. Gardaí say they had feared an escalation of violence due to the intelligence they have received from low-level informants. 

Many in the division wanted to see the reintroduction of Operation Cherry Orchard, which had been carried out over the last four years to target crime in the area. Some officers calling on management to reintroduce it as a matter of urgency.

For example in 2015, the policing plan resulted in 100 stop-and-searches, 36 checkpoints, 75 pieces of valuable intelligence and the seizure of 52 cars.

Those pieces of intelligence also helped aid the convictions of bigger criminals.

Sources described how the information obtained can cripple drug dealers and suppliers in the area.

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One said: “These can be situations where a guy is pulled over at a checkpoint and €1,000 worth of cocaine is discovered.

“He might want to cut a deal and give up some of the bigger suppliers. So instead of taking one guy and €1,000 off the street, you can go for the €100,000 worth of cocaine and a bigger player.”

While serious violent crime was down in the area, officers based in the west of Dublin had feared a resumption of gun attacks. 

It is believed this latest murder was over a drug debt.

Gardaí will attempt to speak to a serious player in the Dublin drugs scene who lives on the same road as the deceased. 

Speaking yesterday at Ballyfermot Garda Station, Superintendent Tony Twomey said they are looking for one lone gunman and that there are three areas of interest for officers; the home of the deceased; Le Fanu Drive where Ford Fiesta was abandoned and burned out; and the Monksfield area of Clondalkin where the Skoda was discovered. 

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