Sources said Irwin had a grudge against the lawyer, who he has known for a number of years
Sligo thug Patrick Irwin carried out the brutal attack against the lawyer during the assault in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, on Friday afternoon.
Irwin remained at large yesterday but sources said he would be arrested as soon as he is located.
It is unclear how Irwin tracked the lawyer down and gardai will investigate whether he followed him to the vicinity of the Bridge House Hotel in the town around 1.30pm on Friday before assaulting him.
Sources said Irwin is understood to have made a number of sinister threats to the legal professional during the assault, indicating he would target him again.
After the attack, Irwin stole the lawyer’s Porsche from outside the hotel and made his getaway at speed.
Gardai are currently trying to establish a motive for the attack.
Sources said Irwin had a grudge against the lawyer, who he has known for a number of years, and one line of inquiry is that he was demanding money from him.
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing on the lawyer’s behalf.
Gardai are trying to establish how Irwin became aware the legal eagle was in the area.
Irwin will be arrested on sight once he is tracked down.
While he may remain in the Republic, there is also a possibility he travelled north of the border.
Irwin heads up a significant drugs operation in Sligo and has links to gangs across the country.
While his own gang are still active in Sligo, local sources said Irwin hasn’t been seen around Sligo much in recent times and is mostly based outside the county.
As well as spending time in the east of the country in Dublin and Meath, he is also believed to travel north of the border and has spent some time in the UK.
Irwin was released from Mountjoy Prison in 2018 after serving consecutive seven- and three-year jail sentences for drug dealing and assaulting a garda.
While he was serving that sentence his former girlfriend Deirdre Moran (36) was jailed for five years for transporting a gun from Dublin to Sligo for the gang boss.
She was stopped by gardai while driving her vehicle in 2008 and the gun was found in a sock underneath the front passenger seat.
Irwin, who had links to murdered gang boss Eamon ‘The Don’ Dunne and other Dublin-based gangsters, returned to his native Sligo on his release from prison.
Irwin’s gang were the main players in the north-west when he went into prison but by the time of his release another Sligo gang had also become significant rivals on the drug scene in the town.
That gang is led by a 38-year-old criminal who cannot currently be named as he is before the courts on organised crime offences.
The rival gang were linked to involvement in the murder of notorious Dublin hitman Robbie Lawlor, who was shot dead in Belfast in 2020.
Irwin has been involved in numerous feuds over the years.
Associates of Irwin were arrested in relation to the murder of Hughie McGinley, who was shot dead by a gunman in Sligo in 2005. No one was ever charged in relation to the murder.
Irwin was issued with Garda Information Message (GIM) to warn him of a credible threat to his life after his release from prison and he survived an attempt on his life when he visited family members in Sligo after his brother Tommy’s death in 2019.
Tommy, who was also involved in the drug trade and had addiction issues, died in non-suspicious circumstances after a cocaine binge.
Irwin was targeted when he visited family members after Tommy’s death.
A former associate is believed to have been behind a gun attack when Patrick visited the area.
Irwin escaped unscathed from that attack and continued his involvement in crime.
His gang were believed to have been behind an attempt to flood Castlerea Prison with large consignment of drugs during lockdown in 2020, but the plot was foiled by prison authorities when the found the drugs concealed in mop heads in the laundry.
Irwin has also been targeted by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) over the years and in 2012 they seized his home in Dromahair, Co. Leitrim.
It was estimated by CAB that the house cost €400,000 when built.
One of Irwin’s key lieutenants was targeted in CAB raids last year, with more than €200,000 worth of cash and vehicles seized or frozen in accounts.
The gang also have links to Limerick, Northern Ireland and criminals in the east of the country.
Irwin has spent significant time in Meath and Dublin since his release from prison.
The lawyer targeted on Friday has previously represented high-profile clients in criminal and civil cases.