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Dublin criminal with gang links brutally slashed in the neck and head in prison attack

Attack: Paul Drew
Attack: Paul Drew

A criminal closely involved with a dangerous southside drugs gang was lucky to escape with his life when he was slashed in the neck and the head in a brutal prison attack.

Paul Drew, who is originally from Tallaght, is now recovering from his injuries after the incident on the B2 landing in Mountjoy Prison at around midday on Tuesday.

Drew (31) was rushed to the Mater Hospital after it was initially feared that an artery in his neck had been severed because of the amount of blood loss he suffered in the attack.

However, after receiving detailed medical help he was fit enough to return to the jail and is now in a 'protection regime' in the prison.

It has not yet been established what kind of blade was used to attack Drew but prison bosses have identified several suspects in the case.

Sources say that the attack on Drew may be linked to the illegal narcotics trade in the prison and may have been carried out by the same mob suspected of issuing death threats to gangland figure Paschal Kelly (50) last week.

Kelly was forced to move off the same landing that Drew was attacked on.

Kelly, who was a key member the gang that ordered the murder of Real IRA boss Alan Ryan in September 2012, has since been moved to Wheatfield Prison for his own protection.

Drew - who had been living in Monasterevin, Co Kildare, when he was sent to jail in 2009 - is serving sentences totalling 13 years for heroin trafficking and the separate theft of 1,280 plasma TV's with a value of €250,000.

Before he was locked up, Drew was a major target for the Garda Organised Crime Unit because of his involvement in a Clondalkin and Tallaght-based gang. He is not due for release from prison until 2017.

He was handed a three-year consecutive sentence at Naas Circuit Court for handling stolen property in relation to the massive TV haul.

He was earlier given a ten-year sentence after he was caught with €2m worth of heroin following a garda surveillance operation in Saggart.

The suspicious pallet was intercepted by custom officers in January 2008.

Gardai organised a controlled delivery of the pallet, which had originated in Belgium.

Ken Foy