A NOTORIOUS criminal was lucky to escape with his life yesterday when a gunman attempted to shoot him outside his Dublin home but the revolver jammed.

Eamon Kelly (61), from Furry Park in Killester, was standing outside his house at 10.30am yesterday when a gunman approached him.

The man attempted to open fire on the convicted drug dealer, but the gun jammed and the shooter was forced to flee. Kelly was left shocked and stunned by the incident. The gardaí were contacted.

Kelly is considered a major criminal by senior gardaí and is currently under investigation by the organised crime unit. He was a close associate of murdered crime boss Eamon 'The Don' Dunne. It is understood that he was recently informed that there was a threat to his life by a Dublin crime gang over the sale and supply of drugs. He was advised by detectives to review his personal safety.

Kelly is one of the best known figures in the criminal underworld. Detectives believe the man who botched the attempted murder was a hired hitman.

In May 1993, Kelly became one of the first people to be jailed for importing a major shipment of cocaine. The father-of-nine was involved with carrying out robberies for the Official IRA in the 1980s.

The former armed robber was sentenced to 14 years in prison after he was caught with cocaine, worth an estimated €500,000, following a garda surveillance operation. He was also jailed for a serious assault.