NewsCrime Desk

Dealer blasted while watching McGregor fight

Jason Kearns
Jason Kearns

A convicted drug dealer has been left fighting for his life after being shot twice while watching the Conor McGregor fight.

Jason Kearns (30) was with his partner and two friends when a man with a handgun fired up to five shots at him.

The shooting is not believed to be linked to the ongoing Hutch-Kinahan feud, which has so far claimed 10 lives.

Kearns was previously convicted of being in possession of €35,000 worth of cannabis and cocaine.

He had only recently become a father for the first time.

The shooting occurred at about 2.30am yesterday on Stannaway Road, Crumlin, Dublin 12.

It is understood that the victim was watching the UFC coverage on TV ahead of Conor McGregor's fight in an upstairs room when he went down to his kitchen.

A gunman appeared from the back garden and fired five shots at him, hitting him in the arm and back.

He was rushed to St James's Hospital where he remains in a serious but stable condition.

Sources said it was a "miracle" Kearns survived the hit, which has left a bullet lodged in his lower back.

Investigating gardai were unable to interview him yesterday afternoon due to the severity of his injuries.

Several lines of inquiry are being investigated, with gardai trying to determine if the shooting is linked to the drugs that the victim was caught with.

Sources said that Kearns had links to a criminal gang operating in Clondalkin, where he is originally from.

One neighbour described him as a "gentleman" and said he would regularly bring her over dinner and take out her bins.

"He is a very nice man, he has only been living here for a number of years, it's just awful. He would bring me over dinner sometimes, and take out my bins for me. He's a very good neighbour to have and it's shocking," the woman said.

Another neighbour - who had only moved into their new home on Saturday night - said that they didn't hear any gunshots and expressed their surprise to see gardai at the house yesterday morning.

The scene of the shooting was sealed off throughout yesterday with a garda forensic team carrying out a technical examination of the house.

Kearns received a five-year suspended sentence earlier this year after being caught with €35,000 worth of cannabis and cocaine.

The court heard how he had been put under pressure to hold the drugs after a criminal gang made threats against his brother.

Judge Melanie Greally said it was "a borderline case", but accepted that Kearns had fully co-operated with the gardai and had minor previous convictions before she imposed a five-year sentence which she suspended in full on strict conditions.

Jason Kearns told officers he had been made store the drugs because of a debt his brother had run up after drugs he had been holding were seized by gardai.

Colm O'Briain SC, defending, said his client had worked in retail management, as a lifeguard and in a sports shop but he was on social welfare at the time of his arrest.

The court heard that Kearns' brother was "out of the jurisdiction" because threats were issued against him.

Kearns was then put under pressure to take on his brother's drug debt.

Mr O' Briain submitted that Kearns' role was at the "lesser end" of the drugs operation.

Detectives from Sundrive Road are investigating the shooting and area appealing for anyone with information to contact them.

No arrests have yet been made.