Monday, 13 February 2006

Father claims he knows who gunned down his son

Monday February 13 2006
THE father of Dara McCormack, who was shot dead in west Dublin on Saturday night, says he knows who killed his son.

This year's first gangland slaying victim had been attacked in the past few weeks by a machete-wielding gang in an incident possibly related to an unpaid debt, Dublin gardai believe.

McCormack (22), of Whitestown Park in Clonsilla, was shot in the back by two men armed with a shotgun shortly after 9.30 on Saturday night.

He had left his home and was chased a short distance to a local green area where the gunmen pulled the trigger.

A man and a woman were arrested yesterday in connection with the killing. They are being questioned by gardai, who believe McCormack knew his killers.

Yesterday, his father Thomas said his son was not a drug dealer but confirmed he had been involved in a separate incident in recent weeks. He also said he had a good idea who had killed his son.

"Dara worked hard. He didn't finish work until 8.30 on Saturday night, and he left here to just go out," Mr McCormack told the Irish Independent. "He offered his younger sister a fiver to press his jeans. He only had €50 on him, so he wasn't going far with only that much money.

Asked whether he knew who had committed the crime, Mr McCormack said: "Yes, I know who did it."

He said Dara was the third youngest in the family and worked in the construction industry.

Shortly after he left home on Saturday, neighbours reported hearing gunshots at the scene.

One local man hurried up to the McCormack household to tell them what had happened. Dara was bleeding profusely when he was rushed to Connolly Hospital but was pronounced dead shortly before 11pm.

"I just heard these bangs, I don't know if was more than one shot or just one that echoed," said one local man.

"By the time I got out there was a small crowd starting to gather to offer help but I believe the lad was in a bad way," the neighbour concluded.

Gardai are keeping an open mind on how the killers fled. A section of local parkland and local footpaths linking housing estates in the area were sealed off pending technical examination.

Members of the Garda technical bureau were also examining the scene.

Yesterday, the victim's younger sister, Ashley (18), described her brother as "a loving bloke. He left a text on my phone on my 18th birthday which said 'I love you, sis, happy birthday'," she said.

"Dara was a lunatic, very funny and had a great sense of humour," another sister said. "He would go with the flow, he never worried about anything. He did have a row a few weeks ago but that seemed to be gone from his mind when he went out last night."

Gardai fear that the killing could spark another upsurge in gun violence and reprisal attacks among Dublin criminal elements.

Last year saw an escalation of such activity, with November being a particularly violent month, when three members of rival gangs from the Crumlin and Drimnagh areas were killed.

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