Murder inquiry after man shot dead in gangland-style attack


A MURDER investigation has been launched after a man was gunned down in front an 11-year-old child in a gangland-type killing yesterday.

Dublin native Gerard Eglington (27) was at home with his 11-year-old stepdaughter and three-year-old son when the attack occurred at about 8.30am at the Glen housing estate, adjacent to Kilnacourt Woods, in Portarlington, Co Laois. It is understood a gunman entered by the front door and shot him at least four times in the back as the young girl looked on.

Mr Eglington was taken to the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore, Co Offaly, where he later died. It is not known if Mr Eglington’s three-year-old son witnessed the shooting.

His partner, also in her 20s, is believed to have gone to the shops yesterday morning. She returned to the scene at the quiet cul-de-sac yesterday. Gardaí suspect a getaway driver took the gunman from the scene in a blue Mazda six. The car was later found burned out on the outskirts of the town.

Insp Martin Harrington said gardaí were called to the scene at 8.45am.

“What they found was a male in the house who had suffered a number of gunshot wounds. The emergency services were called. He was removed by ambulance to Tullamore hospital where he died about an hour later.

“I have two appeals in particular to make. The first one is to anybody who was in the Kilnacourt Woods area between 8am and 8.45am this morning, or even in the last couple of days who might have noticed something suspicious,” he said.

“In particular we are looking for information on a dark blue Mazda six which was seen leaving the area and was subsequently found burnt out on the Lee Road in the town here approximately half an hour later. Anybody that has anything that they feel they need to report to the gardaí, we would be anxious to hear from them,” he added.

Insp Harrington said people would have been bringing their children to school and going to work at the time of the shooting. “We are confident that somebody in the estate saw something and, in the days beforehand, we are anxious to talk to anyone who noticed anything suspicious.”

Mr Eglington was known to the gardaí and had a number of previous convictions. He was thought to have been aligned to one of the factions in the Crumlin/Drimnagh feud and had been previously questioned over an assault on a suspected gang leader’s brother.

In 2003 he was sentenced to four years in detention for travelling in a stolen car which collided with a Garda patrol and killed two gardaí on the Stillorgan dual carriageway in April 2002. Garda Anthony Tighe and Garda Michael Padden lost their lives in the crash.

Local residents were reluctant to speak publicly about the incident. Some stopped to look at the scene, where children’s toys were visible beside the Garda crime scene tape, but many stayed away.

Anyone with information can contact the Garda confidential number on 1800-666111 or on 057-8636774.