Updated: 03/12/16 : 05:48:27
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Sligo drugs 'heavy' shot dead in west Dublin

A Sligo drugs enforcer and ''major gangland player'' was shot dead in west Dublin last night.

Mark Desmond, born in Ballyfermot, was a suspect in at least four murders and one rape, The Irish Independent's online edition said last night, Friday.

The victim was shot three times in the head in last night's killing, RTÉ reported.

It is believed he had regularly clashed with the Real IRA on a number of occasions.

Known as ''The Guinea Pig,'' Desmond was also described as ''a major gangland player'' by The Irish Independent website.

Sligo Link

Last night's killing occurred at approx 8pm in Griffeen Valley Park, Lucan, Gardai confirmed.

The online report said the deceased, in his early 40s, ''has been based in Co Sligo recently and was acting as a 'heavy' for a local drugs gang.''

Its sister paper The Evening Herald first reported the Sligo link with Desmond back in January 2015.

Tense Feud

Drug debts owed locally in Sligo were promptly paid when Desmond arrived on the scene, noted the newspaper.

Crime editor Ken Foy wrote about a ''tense feud being played out in Sligo town.

''It is so serious that the heavily-armed special detective unit is constantly monitoring the situation.''

Burnt Car

This brought him in conflict with dissident groups including one ran by former associates of Alan Ryan.

Last night's victim had earlier been ''threatened by dissident groups including one led by murdered Alan Ryan,'' the online account noted.

                                            The scene of last night's shooting in Lucan

The  Mazda 6 believed to have been used in last night's killing was later found burned out.

Garda forensic team members attended the scene for a preliminary examination shortly after 9.30pm.

Tanaiste and Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald condemned last night's killing, which she said was ''a brutal attack.''

Evil Acts

It is, said the Minister, another reminder of the "callous disregard for human life displayed by people intent on murder and mayhem.

"An Garda Siochana will continue to take every possible measure to counteract activity of this kind.

''They will have the continued support of the Government and the community in doing so," Ms Fitzgerald said.

"Every effort will be made to bring the perpetrators of this dreadful shooting to justice.

''We will face down those who mistakingly think they can get away with these evil acts,'' said the Minister.