Gunshot attack

THE Portlaoise drugs trade is understood to be at the centre of a Garda investigation into the early morning shooting in Portlaoise yesterday (Tuesday)

THE Portlaoise drugs trade is understood to be at the centre of a Garda investigation into the early morning shooting in Portlaoise yesterday (Tuesday)

In what Gardai believe may represent a major escalation in drug crime in Portlaoise, a local man in his 30s was shot in the hallway of his own home between 8.30am and 9am. The victim’s partner and young child were in the house at Hepburn Court at the time.

The intruder demanded money and, during the confrontation, one shot was fired into the man’s thigh by the masked gunman. A second shot may have been discharged but gardai have only recovered one casing from the scene

Gardai would not comment directly on the motive for the attack but the link with the drug trade is the main line of inquiry. It is not believed that the gunman was local and Gardai are also working on the theory that the attack may result from a dispute over drug money.

As of yesterday the victim was still receiving treatment in hospital. While he has spoken to gardai, he has yet to make any formal complaint that would lead to the indentification of the attacker.