Man and woman injured in Limerick shooting

University Hospital Limerick.

By David Raleigh

A man has been seriously wounded in a drive-by shooting in Co Limerick.

The victim, named locally as Ger Hennessy, was shot in the side of his stomach outside his house at Castleview, Newcastle West.

A drug gang based in West Limerick are the prime suspects. According to a Garda source, officers are following a "definite line of enquiry".

Mr Hennessy's sister, Collette -- who was not the intended target in the gun hit -- sustained shotgun wounds to one of her hands in the broad daylight attack. Both are aged in their thirties.

The shooting happened in the Castleview estate in the town at 3.30pm this afternoon as neighbours went about their business and children played nearby.

According to gardaí, two men pulled up in a silver Passat before one stepped out of the vehicle and opened fire on the siblings with a shotgun.

A Garda source said they believed Mr Hennessy was the target of a drug gang over a possible unpaid debt.

According to the source the gunman and Mr Hennessy have been embroiled in a long-running feud, which forced Mr Hennessy to hide out in England.

"This feud has been going on a long time, possibly dating back ten years," the source added.

Mr Hennessy, who had recently returned to his home, was retrieving shopping bags from a car outside the house when the gunman stepped from the Passat and opened fire.

"A car pulled up outside the house. There were two men in the car. One got out and let rip with a shotgun. Mr Hennessy's sister was in the wrong place at the wrong time," a Garda source said.

Detectives, led by Superintendent Tom O'Connor and Inspector Brian O'Donovan, are investigating a number of motives for the gun attack.

Gardaí appealed for information about the car used by the two-man armed gang.

"We are looking for witnesses to contact us. There would have been a lot of people in the area at the time, and we would appreciate it if they could help us," Inspector O'Donovan said.

"We are also appealing for help in tracing a silver Passat with a 06 registration which we believe was used by the shooter," he added.

Within minutes of the mid-afternoon attack Mr Hennessy was airlifted to Cork University Hospital.

Gardaí have described his condition as "serious".

Collette Hennessy's injuries were described by Gardaí as "non life threatening". She is being treated at University Hospital Limerick.

"The scene was sealed off immediately. We are appealing for witnesses to contact us," added Supt O'Connor.

Newcastle West Garda station can be contacted on 069-20650.

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