A 55-year-old man has died after being shot several times outside his home in Ratoath, Co Meath.

The shooting happened at around 7.45pm at the Old Mill housing estate on the Fairyhouse Road.

The victim is a well-known criminal who had been living in the area for some time.

He was in the driver's seat of a black Mercedes in the driveway when the shooting occurred. 

Two cars were found burned out a short time later at nearby Glencairn Lane.

At least one, a BMW, is thought to have been used as a getaway car.

The body remains at the scene and a technical examination is to be carried out by the Garda Technical Bureau.

A post mortem is scheduled to take place tomorrow at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.

The victim was well-known to gardaí for his involvement in the past in organised crime.

He had convictions for receiving stolen property and was a well-known cigarette smuggler.

He was also a target of the Criminal Assets Bureau which sent him a proceeds of crime assessment for €4m and confiscated a five-storey building he part owned in Dublin city centre as payment towards that bill.

He was also an associate of Gerry Hutch and gardaí are investigating if the attack is connected to the ongoing feud between two criminal gangs in Dublin.

Gerry Hutch's brother, Eddie senior, was shot dead at his home on 8 February in apparent retaliation for the murder four days earlier of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel.

Gardaí at Ashbourne have appealed for anyone who saw anything unusual or suspicious in the area to contact them on 01 801 06 00, or on the Garda confidential line on 1800  666 111 or at any garda station.