GARDAI suspect that a man gunned down in the latest gangland attack may have been having an affair with the partner of a notorious criminal, who himself was shot dead in recent months.

Colm Owens (34) was blasted up to eight times at close range as he worked at an animal feed warehouse near his home in Finglas, Dublin.

Owens was not regarded as a major criminal although he had come to the attention of gardaí previously in connection with minor offences.

He was known to be a friend of Eamon Dunne and Paul 'Farmer' Martin, two men who have also recently been killed in gangland shootings.

Gardaí said they are pursuing a number of lines of inquiry in connection with the shooting including the possibility of an ill-fated relationship with a woman.

Owens' shooting was the 16th gun murder of 2010, a year which is likely to break all previous records when it comes to fatal shootings.

Supt Dave Dowling said yesterday: "The matter is still under investigation and we would just make an appeal for witnesses to come forward.

"We are looking for anybody who was in the vicinity at the time or may have the silver Audi car that was used during the shooting to come forward."

Owens was working at the Corn Store animal feed warehouse on Dubber Lane on Friday when a masked man entered at around 12.10pm.

The gunman asked a staff member where Colm Owens was before entering a back room and shooting him repeatedly in the head and upper body.

Two men are still being sought in connection with the attack and forensic tests were taking place on their getaway car, which was abandoned minutes after the shooting.