One man is dead and two others are in hospital after a gang of armed men opened fire at a boxing match weigh-in at a Dublin hotel this afternoon.
Witnesses said three gunmen, at least one of whom was armed with what gardaí believe was an AK47 assault rifle, entered the Regency Hotel at around 2.30pm.
They were wearing what some witnesses described as partial mock-up Garda uniforms, including a Garda tabard or vest.
Following today's incident at the Dublin weigh in, tomorrow's show from the National Stadium has been cancelled.— BoxNation (@boxnationtv) February 5, 2016
The Irish Times understands there were uniformed gardai and armed detectives not far from the scene of the weigh-in, which was regarded as a security risk because a number of gangland criminals were expected to be in attendance.
Some members of the media had gathered outside the weigh-in. They witnessed part of the attack.
The three armed men started shooting at a group of people attending a weigh-in ahead of a planned boxing event on Saturday.
Gardaí believe the gunmen specifically targeted this group and that the three men who were wounded were among the party present for the weigh-in.
One of the three men wounded at the scene later died from his injuries. The two others who were wounded but survived have been taken to the Mater and Beaumont hospitals.
Witnesses said a large number of shots were fired by the gunmen during the attack inside the hotel.
Once the gunmen opened fire, attendees at the weigh-in and guests at the hotel sought cover or tried to flee the hotel.
A video of part of the attack shows people running for cover and screaming as shots are fired. A child can be heard saying: “Daddy help me, what was that?”
There are unconfirmed reports the gunmen pursued some of those as they fled the hotel. The gunmen left the scene on foot and were driven away in a van waiting outside driven by another man.
Gardaí believe the vehicle was driven south down Swords Rd, before turning left onto Griffith Ave.
The van carrying the killers then turned left into the Charlemont housing estate and drove up to the back of the estate, which is a large cul de sac.
The vehicle was parked by the edge of the street outside houses and set alight. Garda sources said it appeared the men may have run through a laneway beside the vehicle and into the car park of St Vincent’s GAA club, which backs onto Charlemont.
One line of inquiry being examined by gardaí is whether the shooting is linked to a growing feud between a large criminal gang in Dublin and an Irish-led crime cartel based in the south of Spain.
The murder of Dubliner Gary Hutch (34) in southern Spain four months ago was regarded at the time as a serious escalation in that feud.
An armed robber and drug dealer in his early 30s, Hutch was shot dead in a well-planned gun attack on September 24th.
He was fatally wounded beside a swimming pool in a communal area of the Angel de Miraflores apartments complex, near Marbella on the Costa del Sol.
An effort had been made to shoot him in Marbella in August, 2014, but the attack was botched and well-known boxer Jamie Moore was wounded instead.
The chief suspects for that murder are a major Irish-led gang based in southern Spain. Members of that gang are closely associated with the man shot dead today.
The man killed at the hotel was from west Dublin, and well-known to gardaí for involvement in organised crime. He has lived in recent years between Spain and Dublin and was regarded as criminal of considerable financial means.
While his wealth was mainly in Spain, and so out of the reach of the Criminal Assets Bureau, he had spent large sums on parties and buying expensive vehicles in Dublin.
The weigh-in taking place at the time of the attack was for the ‘Clash of the Clans’ promotion in the National Stadium, Dublin, on Saturday night.
However, according to a tweet on Friday afternoon from Box Nation: “following today’s incident at the Dublin weigh-in, tomorrow’s show from the National Stadium has been cancelled”.
The scene is sealed-off and a Garda technical examination of the area is takingplace.
The Regency Hotel where the attack occurred is located on the Swords Road, Drumcondra, about half way between Collins Avenue and Griffith Ave.
Gardaí are appealing for anyone who was in the area of the Regency Hotel or may have information, to contact them at Ballymun Garda station on 01 666 4400.