Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Man 'lured to death' by former partners in crime

Tuesday March 28 2006
GARDAI now believe that a man, who was murdered in a laneway earlier this month, was lured to his death by former criminal associates.

Last night, four people were being questioned by detectives about the shooting of Shay Bradley (28), who lived in North King Street in Dublin's north inner city.

He was originally from the Waterside in Derry, but had moved to Dublin more than seven years ago. Gardai say that Bradley had fallen out late last year with members of a crime gang in which he had been involved and the row could have resulted in his brutal death.


Bradley was well known to gardai and had appeared in court in connection with two separate crimes in recent months.

He was associated with a number of crime gangs operating out of the inner city and also in the western and southern suburbs.

In early morning raids yesterday, detectives arrested a man and woman in Tallaght and two other men in Cabra.

All four were being held last night at garda stations in west Dublin under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act, which allows detectives to detain them without charge for up to three days. The suspects are all in their mid to late 20s.

Streets where the gun rules and life is cheap

Tuesday March 28 2006
Availability of weapons turning gangland feuds into bloody battles



THE last six months have seen gangland violence erupt on an unprecedented scale throughout the capital and its surrounding areas.

The high-speed M50 shooting was just the latest in a series of bloody, often lethal, incidents of gun violence around Dublin.

The violence has gone hand-in-hand with a rise in the number of gangs around the city, with previously existing groups often splitting acrimoniously, and with the availability of cheap weaponry.

West of the city/Blanchardstown/Clonsilla/Clondalkin

Less than three weeks ago, the body of Shay Bradley (28) was found in a laneway off Blackhorse Avenue, having been shot three times. Bradley, a Derry native, was was believed to have been the driver of a getaway car in a botched shooting last September where an innocent man was shot in the Polly Hops pub in Newcastle, Co Dublin. The actual target of the Polly Hops shooting, Owen McCarthy, was subsequently shot dead near the Wicklow gap last November over what was believed to be a drug debt.

In September last year, Mark Glennon (32) was murdered in the driveway of his Dublin home. The shooting followed a bloody personal battle between two factions which had formerly been linked and were destined to take over from the notorious Westies gang. Last month, gardai mounted raids across Dublin after 22-year-old Dara McCormack was shot in the back by two men in Clonsilla. It is thought he owed money to a a drug trafficker. At the start of this month a group of men and women were arrested for questioning about the murder of settled traveller John Cunningham Jr last November.


The country was repulsed by the brutally callous murder of young mother Donna Cleary in Coolock, when shots were fired indiscriminately from a 9mm pistol into a house after a group were not allowed into a party.

Subsequently Dwayne Foster, the prime suspect in the case, died in garda custody due to congestion of the lungs.

Also at the start of this month, a man survived a fourth attempt on his life after being shot while walking into his home with his three-year-old daughter.

Graham Stewart was hit once in the thigh in the incident off the Greencastle road in Coolock.

In a separate incident in December, attempts by the mothers of two rival factions to end a bloody feud in the Coolock area failed after a man was blasted twice in the leg with a sawn-off shotgun.

David Brady (24), from Millbrook in Coolock, was not a member of either gang but was believed to have been shot because he was a friend of some of the suspected members.

There had been several shootings and stabbings as part of the feud over the past three years.

Both factions are from the Coolock area and most of those involved are well known to gardai from their criminal activities in the past.


Noel Roche (27) was shot dead near the Yacht pub in Clontarf when the black Ford Mondeo in which he was travelling was sprayed with bullets on Clontarf Road in November.

It was the latest death in the Crumlin gang war. Two other men - Darren Geoghegan (26), from Lissadell Drive, Drimnagh; and Gavin Byrne (30), from Windmill Park, Crumlin - were murdered as they waited in a car at a housing estate in Firhouse a few days earlier.

Geoghegan was suspected of being responsible for the murder of John Roche (24), who was originally from Clonmacnoise Road, Dublin, and was shot in the chest as he left his parked car at Military Road in Kilmainham on March 10, 2005. John Roche's brother Noel was shot dead as part of the same feud two days earlier.


Just before Christmas, Ian McConnell was murdered outside his flat in Ballymun. He was shot in the head with a single shotgun blast.

Sunday, 19 March 2006

Gangland killing spree: one dies every three weeks

Sunday Tribune

Eoghan Rice and John Burke
Veronica Guerin's death was meant to be 'the watershed'.

But a decade after the crime journalist's murder, an average of 15 people per year die in gangland slayings, and the drugs trade which fuels the carnage is more intense than ever THE detectives at the national drug unit should have been elated. They had just intercepted a multi-million euro haul of cocaine and broken a new supply route from Nigeria to Dublin Airport via Holland. Instead, mixed with pleasure at a job well done, was concern at how little they knew about the men they had just arrested. They were not even sure if the names provided by the men were genuine.

Just a few years ago, it would have been inconceivable for drug squad detectives not to know the men behind a 3.5m cocaine shipment. In the decade since the 1996 murder of crime reporter Veronica Guerin, gangland crime has changed dramatically. Gardai are struggling to compile intelligence on newly emerging foreign-national gangs involved in the importation of drugs, as well as the large number of apparently low-level criminals involved in acts of serious criminality, including homicide and drug crime.

Foreign-national gangs now play a major role in the importation of cocaine, herbal cannabis and synthetic drugs. Of the major 'commercial' seizures of drugs coming into Ireland in 2005, half of these were directly linked to west African, primarily Nigerian, gangs based here who have constructed a complex importation network to bring drugs into the state, according to the director of the Customs National Drug Team Michael Colgan.

Speaking to the Sunday Tribune, Colgan said west Africa is increasingly the source point for drugs entering Ireland. "One of the major trends we are noticing is the increased involvement of west African gangs in the transit of illegal drugs into the state. The increase in both cocaine and herbal cannabis largely comes about with the increased involvement of these African gangs, " Colgan said.

Drug traffickers are constantly seeking new and more sophisticated smuggling techniques. A recent technique, as explained by Colgan, makes it even harder to detect. "This involves the transformation of cocaine into a liquid substance, after which it is impregnated into the clothing a courier wears. On arrival, a very sophisticated chemical formula is applied that renders the cocaine back into its original state ready for sale on the streets.

This is most worrying because it suggests that a level of chemical know-how more often associated with drugs gangs in Holland is now arriving on our own shores."

There is no doubt about the growth in the drug trade here in the past 10 years or the lucrative nature of the industry. A recent Sunday Tribune investigation established that drug seizures valued at over 1bn have been made over the last decade by gardai and the Customs National Drug Team.

With international policing and academic experts accepting that only about 10% of illegal drugs are detected by state authorities, this means that drugs with a street value of upwards of 10bn, or almost 20m a week, have arrived in Ireland since 1995. The value and scale of these seizures is dramatic: cocaine worth 537m, cannabis 512m, heroin 34m and ecstasy 6m. "Drugs from west Africa are first moved into Morocco and Spain, before being smuggled across Europe, " Colgan said.

The west African gangs are remarkably organised.

"It is difficult to obtain information and intelligence on these gangs, as opposed to gangs that are of a European origin, " he added.

While the growth of foreign-national gangs is a major concern to the authorities here as well as across continental Europe and the UK, Irish gangs remain major players in the importation and, in particular, in the distribution of all types of drugs here. While the work of specialist garda units, under the control of the Garda National Support Services, and the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) has brought down many of the former drug barons, a new, younger and more violent generation has emerged to take their place.

One of the major problems now facing gardai is the access that gangs have to a wide and informal network of contacts in large urban areas of the capital which are utilised to store drug consignments as well as to dispose of drug money. When gardai and the Revenue Commissioners teamed up through CAB to bring the weight of the state's new powers of asset seizure down on major criminals' heads after journalist Veronica Guerin's 1996 killing, they knew where to look. There were few of the major players who detectives did not know inside out, and most had accumulated significant assets with their wealth which the state could recover. But that too has changed dramatically. A significant number of the criminals who are currently under investigation by gardai have not accumulated much wealth. In fact, many of them are willing to commit murder and take possession of major consignments of drugs merely to pay for their drug habit. Only a few major players are currently making significant amounts of cash. Many have moved what money they have amassed into assets overseas, it is believed. It is from deprived estates, such as sprawling Corduff in Blanchardstown and areas of Drimnagh, Crumlin and Inchicore, that the main drug gangs of the 1990s emerged, run by men like Martin 'The General' Cahill, the now incarcerated John Gilligan, PJ Judge and George 'The Penguin' Mitchell.

Gilligan was acquitted in 2001 in the Special Criminal Court of involvement in Guerin's murder but is serving a 20-year sentence for possession of cannabis resin. Last month he lost a High Court appeal attempting to prevent CAB from seizing significant assets.

A decade later, these areas still boast the greatest concentration of organised crime gangs in the state, with a small core of gangs based in west Dublin and in south inner-city Dublin responsible for three-quarters of all the gangland-style assassinations in the country since 2000, based on data compiled by the Sunday Tribune.

In tandem with the emergence of these gangs is the push to sell lucrative cocaine and the surge in consumption of this drug across all social strata; in particular, according to anecdotal evidence, the so-called 'professional class'. The trend in rising drug use is not expected to go away soon. One survey indicated that 37% of Irish 15- to 16-year olds had used cannabis, three times the average exposure to cannabis of teenagers in the same age range in other EU countries. Some 54% of 15- to 16-year olds in Ireland also said it was either very easy or fairly easy to buy ecstasy. Ireland now has the secondhighest percentage of cocaine usage amongst the 18 to 24 age group, with 3.5% of that age group having used the drug over the last 12 months. The period 1998-2002 saw the number of Irish males who use cocaine regularly rise from 1.8% to 3%.

Females showed an even larger rise over the same period, climbing from 0.6% to 1.9%. The number of people charged with cocaine-related offences rose by 75% from 169 to 297 over the same period.

Whatever about the growing role of foreignnational gangs in the drugs trade, murders by Irish criminals grab the headlines. The death toll is the highest single indicator that, since Guerin's slaying in 1996, organised crime has rapidly deteriorated. In 1998 there were just four gang-related murders in the state. In the three-year period from 2000 to 2002, there was an average of nine gangland assassinations each year. In the past three years alone, from 2003 to last year, that average has risen to 15 gangland murders per year. Last year alone, there were 19 separate gangland hits. Based on figures compiled by the Sunday Tribune, there have been 78 gangland murders since 2000. Of these, the vast majority, 40 in fact, took place in south Dublin. Nineteen gun murders were carried out in north and west Dublin while 10 were carried out in Limerick.

But for all the myths about gangland drug wars, there is little to suggest that such a problem exists on any significant level. Quite the opposite, in fact.

The most recent Europol organised crime situation report notes that organised crime (OC) gangs in Ireland are unusual, in a European context, insofar as they work closely together to import drugs from continental Europe.

It is believed several members of the travelling community are responsible for supplying a vast amount of the adapted shotguns to the west Dublin gangs. This group, based around Dunsink, is also considered to be heavily involved in fencing stolen goods to criminals in the UK and Northern Ireland.

Disadvantaged estates in central Dublin not only boast the most lethal drug gangs but also the most well-known. In the past, the most high profile of these has been the Westies. Gang leaders Shane Coates and Stephen Sugg have not been seen since they disappeared in Alicante in February 2003, but the Westies were rapidly replaced by a gang that was led by two brothers, Andrew and Mark Glennon, who were both murdered last year and have since been replaced by another gang which comprises former members with whom they fell out.

One of the most feared gangs on the northside of Dublin's inner city is led by two members of one family. The duo are believed to have organised ATM and bank robberies worth over 2m in 2004, as well as being one of the major drug suppliers into Finglas and Blanchardstown. The gang has strong links with expatriate Irish criminals now living in Spain and Holland.

A significant portion of the south Dublin drugs trade, around Crumlin and Drimnagh, is controlled by a handful of highly volatile gangs. A feud among two of these gangs has claimed several lives, including the treble shooting last year that saw John Roche shot dead in March and the killing of Gavin Byrne and Darren Geoghegan and Roche's brother Noel last November.

The public profile of many of the dangerous young men from disadvantaged communities who operate as foot-soldiers, distributors and enforcers in the drug industry is well established. Few have accumulated any considerable wealth and most have chronic drug addiction.

One of the most dangerous criminals of the past few years, Declan Curran, from Cardiffsbridge Avenue in west Finglas, fits the profile.

Curran had already been shot by the time he was 19 years old, an injury which compelled him to wear a colostomy bag even while he carried out crimes. Curran is believed to have been connected to at least three slayings, including the murder of a man who made the mistake of dating Curran's ex-girlfriend.

One of the major problems gardai face is the increasing number of youths in areas such as south Finglas who aspire to be as 'untouchable' as Curran was perceived to be. Few disaffected youths in disadvantaged areas seem interested that Curran hardly profited from crime; wore a bulletproof vest in bed to ward off a likely attack from countless enemies; and spent his final four years carrying his urine in a bag attached to his body.

After Curran's death, while on detention at Cloverhill Prison in November 2004, his former associates carried out a series of tit-for-tat shootings. An associate of his, Paul Cunningham, was murdered in his Mulhuddart home in retaliation.

Cunningham was typical of the complex associations in the criminal world. He was a close criminal associate of Curran's. But Cunningham also had dealings with the so-called Westies gang in Blanchardstown who often came into conflict with Curran's gang. Cunningham and Curran were both closely connected to a major drug lord in the west Dublin area. The gang is based in the south Finglas area and is run by a man in his 20s who is currently serving time in prison in the midlands. This gang is linked to the near-fatal shooting of a man in his 20s last weekend in south Finglas.

The jailed gang leader was also a close associate of Dwayne Foster, the chief suspect in the murder of mother-of-one Donna Cleary. Her killing was described by justice minister Michael McDowell as a "watershed". Both Cleary, and Foster, who died in garda custody due to complications related to his drug use, were buried last week. Few will miss the irony that the young woman met her death almost exactly 10 years after the last such watershed . . . Veronica Guerin's murder.

Ten years on: Who killed Veronica Guerin?

IN THE 10 years since the murder of crime reporter Veronica Guerin, there have been several attempts to bring to justice those believed responsible for her killing. Of the three that faced murder charges, John Gilligan was acquitted and Paul Ward's 1999 conviction was later overturned. Brian Meehan is appealing his murder conviction. However, major questions exist as to whether the three men who supplied information on Gilligan's so-called 'Greenmount gang', former gang members John Dunne, Russell Warren and Charlie Bowden, were more closely involved in the actual murder than emerged in court.

JOHN GILLIGAN Gilligan, 53, is serving a 28-year sentence for his involvement in a major drugs gang. He was tried in 2001 for the murder of Veronica Guerin but was acquitted, a major blow to the garda investigation into the journalist's killing. The criminal assets bureau (CAB) is seeking to seize his Jessbrook estate in Kildare.

BRIAN MEEHAN Brian Meehan, 39, of no fixed abode and formerly of Clifton Court, Dublin, and Stanaway Road, Crumlin, is serving life for the murder of Veronica Guerin, as well as concurrent sentences of 20 years and 12 years for drug offences and five years for firearms offences. He was a member of Gilligan's 'Greenmount Gang' which imported and sold cannabis. He is appealing his murder sentence.

PAUL WARD Ward, 40, from Crumlin, south Dublin, was convicted in 1999 in relation to Guerin's murder, but this was overturned in March 2002. He was released from Portlaoise prison in 2004 having completed a 10-year sentence for his part in a riot at Mountjoy prison in 1997, in which five prison officers were held hostage.

PATRICK HOLLAND 'Dutchy' Holland, 66, is serving a 20-year sentence at Portlaoise prison for possession of drugs with intent to supply, reduced to 12 years on appeal. He was identified in court by Charlie Bowden as the hitman who shot Guerin, but has never been charged with the crime. He insists that Bowden lied. In an interview with Sunday Tribune Northern Editor Suzanne Breen last year, Holland said that Bowden had fired the fatal shots.

JOHN DUNNE John Dunne, 48, is a former international freight manager for a Cork company. He worked at a warehouse in Cork and brought boxes of drugs from the facility to the car park of one of a number of hotel or pub car parks in the midlands. He is believed to be living in a foreign jurisdiction. Under the terms of the witness protection scheme operated by the state, his mortgage is paid for, he is provided with access to employment and he has constant protection.

RUSSELL WARREN Warren is originally from Tallaght. He claimed that he stole the motorbike on the order of John Gilligan to be later used in the assassination of Guerin. His evidence in the case against the gang leader was found to be unreliable. He is living in a foreign jurisdiction. Under the terms of the state's witness protection scheme, his mortgage is paid for and he is provided with access to employment and has constant protection.

CHARLIE BOWDEN Bowden, aged 42, is originally from Finglas in Dublin, and was responsible for minding the guns and safe-houses for Gilligan's gang. He ran the drug-distribution operation from a warehouse in the Greenmount Industrial Estate. A black-belt in karate and a former army corporal who was discharged for beating up a new recruit, Bowden is also a highly-proficient marksman. He is living in a foreign jurisdiction after providing mostly unreliable evidence against Gilligan, Ward and Meehan.
March 19, 2006

Sunday, 12 March 2006

How gang bosses lord it over gardai

By Jim Cusack

Sunday March 12 2006
THE garda response to the murder of Donna Cleary ended in a shambles last week as two men walked free because their period of lawful detention overran.

Like most suspects in gangland crime in Dublin, the three men arrested under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act in connection with the murder of Donna Cleary repeated, mantra-like, "nothing to say" in reply to every question put to them.

Garda interrogation is now, in the words of one very senior Dublin detective, "a joke". He pointed out that gang bosses routinely order their subordinates to go back to the garda station where they have been questioned and demand a copy of the videotape of their interrogation. Gardai must provide them with a copyunder law.

"Their bosses want to see the video in case they gave something away. That's all they're saying: "nothing to say". They're having great crack showing them in pubs and clubs. They're having parties watching them on the video. It's all a big laugh." The popular pastime of watching these videos began in Limerick over a year ago and has now spread to Dublin.

The investigation into Donna's murder faces two major hurdles: the impossibility of getting suspects to confess or incriminate themselves under questioning, and intimidation of witnesses.

In Donna's case the first hurdle has already presented itself. Questioning provided no evidence and, embarrassingly for the guards, was curtailed after losing Wednesday's High Court case forcing the release of suspects.

The next problem facing gardai is getting witnesses to testify. Murder and other serious cases are increasingly failing because of intimidation of witnesses, referred to by one judge as "mass amnesia".

The collapse of gangland trials because witnesses retract statements is now almost the norm as Dublin, Limerick and Cork's armed and organised criminals flout the law. The trial-collapses - there were two within two days last month - are coming about because of the increasing reliance on witness evidence and because those witnesses are highly susceptible to intimidation.

In particularly flagrant cases of intimidation the Government has been forced to say it will bring in new legislation or new arrangements to protect or force witnesses to testify. Similarly, last week, the Government's response to the public outcry over Donna's murder was to say it was bringing forward anti-gun crime legislation.

After the partial collapse of the Jerry McCabe murder trial in 1997 when the IRA intimidated a key witness, the Government introduced the witness protection scheme. However, the scheme is costly and there are still only a handful of people under permanent protection. Little else has happened.

Most witnesses are given only perfunctory protection if any, even if they live cheek by jowl with the main suspects or their associates.

The experience of those who agree to testify is not encouraging. One particularly brutal example was that of a young Dublin woman who was determined to give evidence against a member of a south Dublin drugs gang who had beaten her boyfriend almost to death five years ago. She was forced to attend repeated pre-trial hearings at which she was harassed and finally viciously assaulted outside the court room. She still went ahead.

The gang then hired a former republican assassin to kill or maim her for life causing the young woman, her partner and young child to flee Dublin. They moved from B&B to B&B until, finally, their relationship collapsed under the strain.

With almost no resources provided to protect and house the young mother she finally ended up living in a homeless hostel in Dublin with her child. She still went ahead and, eventually, the ruthless young drug dealer who had nearly killed her partner, pleaded guilty and received a three-year sentence. He was released late last year.

In January this year shots were fired at the house where the young woman's partner was living. The gang was sending out a message that they will not forget anyone who helps the gardai.

Even if the gardai offer to protect potential witnesses, it means that they are taken away from their own communities. It also means that even if they do flee, the threat is directed at the relatives who remain at home.

This was most recently seen in the case of a young man who had survived being shot three times at close range as part of the Drimnagh drugs gang feud which has claimed up to nine lives so far. As he recovered in hospital the young man told gardai who had shot him - two brothers who lead one of the warring factions. When word emerged that he had made a statement and might give evidence in court, members of his family were approached and threatened.

Finally, in mid-January, the threats became increasingly grave and he fled the country. He has made no further contact with gardai and they are not even sure if he has been murdered.

Two weeks ago, gardai in south Dublin arrested a man who, they believed, had made death threats to three witnesses in a murder case. Gardai now believe that this case might also collapse as the witnesses, who made statements to detectives, will suffer a bout of "amnesia".

Gardai complain that the current methods of interviewing suspects - based on guidelines handed down by garda management - are unworkable and ineffective.

Detectives have to write down each question as it is delivered. The suspect is asked not to answer until the question, which might be two or three lines long, is written down in hand, usually by a second detective. Once this is down, the suspect is asked for his reply. He has up to a minute or two to consider hisanswer which, in most cases, is "nothing to say". This is written down and the process continues.

Not remarkably, thismonotonous system of interview has meant that in almost every murder case there isno point in producingevidence of the suspect being interviewed.

By contrast, police in the United Kingdom have a far more successful technique where suspects are videotaped. This technique was used to devastating effect in the videotaped interview of Ian Huntley in the Soham murder case. The jury was able to view his evasive and shifty demeanour as he lied and prevaricated in the face of firm questioning from detectives well-armed with strong circumstantial evidence.

The collapse of the interview in custody has meant detectives have had to look elsewhere to make their case and this, inevitably, means gardai have to fall back on witnesses. Witnesses are warned that failure to tell the truth can lead to 10 years imprisonment for obstruction of justice and, in many cases, they agree to talk. However, by the time the case comes to trial the defendant will have access to these statements. It is at this point that the gangs can move. Either directly or indirectly through family members, the witness comes to learn that testifying in court may have fatal consequences. It is often only a simple word in the ear of a near-relative in the street, in a pub toilet. The gangs rarely have to produce weapons to make their point.

And, the result is that the witness then becomes the second victim of the gangland hit. He or she is forced to recant on the statement. Ironically, it is the witness who may now face prosecution.

Of the 18 or so gangland murders in Dublin last year, very few will get as far as court even though gardai have strong circumstantial and other evidence against the main suspects. In only one instance where an accused has admitted serious offences, has been sentenced and has agreed to testify against others, is there a strong chance of convictions. He is under the witness protection scheme.

In cases where gardai are relying on the testimony of unprotected witnesses, detectives admit the chances of gaining a conviction are slim to none. Gangs see there is only a slight chance of being convicted of murder so murder, terror and intimidation are the rule of the day.

Last week the gardai's response to the murder of Donna Cleary turned from one of urgent action into the bizarre death of the chief suspect, quickly followed by near farce as the High Court found the gardai had breached detention rules. This along with the confused noises from the Taoiseach and other politicians about judges only emphasised the hopelessness of the State's response to the very serious problem of gun crime in Dublin and Limerick.

Donna's murder was inevitable. There have been dozens of drive-by shootings and shootings into occupied houses in Dublin and Limerick in the past year. In one feud alone, between two traveller families in north Dublin, there were seven gun attacks in December with four people hit, one seriously. Where no one is killed or badly injured the incidents are generally not reported.

Just 24 hours before Donna's death, a three-year-old girl came within a hair's breadth of being murdered when a gunman opened fire on her father outside their home in Greencastle Road, Coolock. The man, 25, was hit in the leg but his daughter escaped injury. The incident attracted almost no attention.

In Donna's case, her friends and family will be encouraged by gardai not to speak to the press, being told that it might hinder the investigation. It is a cynical form of damage limitation until the next outcry over the next innocent young victim.

- Jim Cusack

Saturday, 11 March 2006

Man shot dead after row with gang associates

Saturday March 11 2006
Tom Brady and Eugene Moloney
A ROW with criminal associates led to the savage murder of a young gunman whose body was found in a Dublin lane-way yesterday.

The latest victim of gangland murder was named last night as 28-year-old Shay Bradley, who lived in North King Street in the north inner city.

He was originally from the Waterside in Derry but had moved to Dublin more than seven years ago.

Bradley was well known to gardai and had appeared in court in connection with two separate crimes in recent months.

He was closely involved with a number of crime gangs operating out of the inner city and also in the western and southern suburbs.

Bradley was particularly involved with a gang based in the Clondalkin area and last September was arrested after a shooting in the Polly Hops pub in Newcastle, Co Dublin.

The intended target of the shooting was small-time criminal Owen McCarthy, in the pub when the gang leader ordered two men to shoot him in the legs.

A third man, who knew McCarthy, walked into the pub and noted where the intended victim was sitting. But by the time the gunmen ran in, McCarthy had changed seats and another innocent customer was shot instead.

Bradley was believed to have been the driver of the getaway car which crashed as they made their escape. Gardai later recovered the weapon used, a .357 Magnum, which was still loaded.

Bradley was later charged with illegal possession of a firearm and was remanded on bail.

He had also pleaded guilty at another court to taking part in the theft of a container of chocolates from Dublin Port.

The Polly Hops intended target, Owen McCarthy, was subsequently shot dead near the Wicklow Gap in November but Bradley was not suspected of being involved.

McCarthy was thought to have been killed by former west Dublin gang associates because he owed them money over a series of cocaine deals.

Bradley's body was found in a lane-way off Blackhorse Avenue at noon yesterday but gardai believe he was murdered between 8pm and 9pm on Thursday.

He was shot three times in the chest and lower body with a handgun.