IL DISSIDENTE DECLAN SMITH MUORE A DUBLINO
A dissident republican gangster from Belfast has died in hospital a week after being shot in the face as he dropped his son off at a creche.
Declan ‘Fat Deccy’ Smith, who was wanted for questioning over a double murder in Northern Ireland, passed away yesterday.
The 31-year-old criminal had been clinging to life at Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital since he was targeted last Friday.
Smith was originally from the Cliftonville Road in north Belfast but had been living in the Republic since fleeing there in 2007 following the murders of Eddie Burns and Joe Jones.
Sources in Belfast said that prior to last week’s shooting, Smith was considering moving to the United States because he had too many enemies in Dublin. He was shot as he dropped his son off at Little Rainbows childcare centre on Holywell Road, Donaghmede, last Friday.
Smith was heard shouting “don’t shoot” before the assassin pointed the sawn-off shotgun towards his face and opened fire at close range.
Parents dropping toddlers off at the creche saw him lying in the road in a pool of blood and rushed to shelter children from the scene.
He was placed in an induced coma in Beaumont Hospital but failed to recover.
His death was confirmed by gardai yesterday.
A post-mortem examination was due to be carried out yesterday by Professor Marie Cassidy, the Irish State Pathologist.
The Garda investigation into the shooting is ongoing.
‘Fat Deccy’ was a close associate of murdered Real IRA leader Alan Ryan, who was gunned down in Clongriffin, north Dublin, 18 months ago.
Reports said that in the wake of Ryan’s death, Smith attempted to fill his place by becoming the leader of the Dublin branch of the Real IRA.
But he was later thrown out of the organisation and was targeted in a so-called punishment shooting in Saggart, Dublin, last year.
Sources suspect Smith was targeted as revenge for a brutal kidnapping of another gangster.
Before Ryan’s death he and Smith had kidnapped and tortured a senior member of another gang in an attempt to steal their weapons.
It is understood the gang had sworn revenge. ‘Fat Deccy’ Smith had been wanted by detectives investigating two murders in Belfast in March 2007.
A gang, believed to include Smith, abducted and shot dead Burns (36) at the Bog Meadows beside the M1.
They then crossed the city to Ardoyne and battered Jones (38) to death with a spade.
Smith’s murder is the latest in an upsurge in gun crime which culminated in the Republic’s most notorious gangster, John Gilligan, fleeing the country earlier this month.