Monday, 28 January 2008

'Viper' hit sparks fears of gang feud

'Viper' hit sparks fears of gang feud
Doctors say Foley's fitness saved his life after an eight-bullet attack

By Tom Brady Security Editor

Monday January 28 2008

Gardai fear the weekend attempt to murder notorious Dublin crime figure Martin Foley will re-ignite a deadly gang feud in the capital.

Last night, the criminal known as The Viper was on the road to recovery despite being shot eight times.

Doctors believe his fitness saved his life.

Foley was still in a critical condition in St James' Hospital, but medical staff said his condition had improved dramatically since Saturday and his life was no longer at risk.

At the centre of the garda investigation is a young criminal who is a member of a well-known family, originally from the south inner city.

Foley named the man as his would-be killer as he was being ferried to hospital on Saturday afternoon after the shooting outside the Carlisle health and fitness club at Lower Kimmage Road.

Gardai yesterday recovered what they believe to be the weapon used in the attack, as well as other items, including clothing. The gunman pumped eight shots -- not six as was reported in several Sunday papers -- from a high-powered pistol into Foley as he attempted to make his escape in his Audi car.

The 57-year-old victim was hit in the shoulder, arm, wrist, hand, twice in his lower back, and his thigh, while one shot grazed his skull as he frantically tried to get away from his attacker. Two other shots missed the target. The car spun out of control as the badly wounded Foley attempted to flee and ended up in a nearby garden.

The gunman and an accomplice made their getaway in a white Ford van, which was found abandoned at Wainsfort Road in Terenure. Gardai found the weapon in the van.

The attackers attempted to set fire to the van but did not succeed in their panic to get away and senior garda officers believe that a detailed forensic examination will provide vital clues to the identity of the gang.

Although Foley named the gunman, detectives are also following up several other lines of inquiry on the identity of his attackers.

They are investigating one theory that the "hit" was ordered by the leader of one of the gangs involved in the brutal Crumlin-Drimnagh feud that has already claimed eight lives.

This could result in retaliation by associates in the opposing faction. The two groups fell out over the garda seizure of a drugs haul in a hotel in Pearse Street in the centre of the city.


But they are also examining the possibility that the shooting was linked to Foley's activity as a debt collector on the south and west side of the city.

A number of leading crime figures are known to have sold on their debts to other gangland players and this has turned the interaction between the gangs into a highly complicated web.

Detectives are also looking at a possible link between Saturday's shooting and the murder of Walkinstown car dealer and underworld "fixer", Brian Downes, who was shot dead outside his garage late last year.

And they are also anxious to establish if there could be a connection with a recent shooting incident in Clondalkin in which nobody was hurt.

Meanwhile, it was learned last night that the garda authorities are planning to beef up the organised crime unit, which has been highly successful since it was established in 2006.

It is intended the unit should be placed on a permanent basis -- at present it is comprised of a number of detectives seconded from other squads.

- Tom Brady Security Editor

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Crime boss 'Viper' fights for life after gun attack

Crime boss 'Viper' fights for life after gun attack
Notorious gangland figure Martin Foley shot five times in city ambush

By Don Lavery, Niamh Horan and Joanna Kiernan

Sunday January 27 2008

One of the country's most notorious criminals, Martin Foley, known as 'The Viper', was shot and seriously wounded outside a Dublin gymnasium yesterday afternoon.

Foley, 55, who has survived several assassination attempts in the past , was sitting in his car when between five and six shots were fired by at least one gunman.

He tried to drive away from his attackers and he is believed to have been hit several times in the chest, shoulder and lower body.

His car crashed a short distance away from the scene of the shooting.

It is at least the fourth known attempt on his life. He had been hit by 11 bullets before yesterday's shooting.

The shooting, which happened around 3pm near Ben Dunne's Carisle Gym in Kimmage, was the latest murder attempt on Foley who was an associate of Martin Cahill, 'The General'.

At least some of the attempts were carried out by the the Provisional IRA while others were by other criminal gangs.

The badly injured man was taken to St James' Hospital for treatment where he is in a "critical" condition.

Eyewitnesses outside the Carlisle Health and Fitness club in Kimmage, south Dublin gave their reaction to the shooting, shortly after the incident took place.

Brian Kelly, a local said: "At five past three I heard five shots. It sounded like a hand gun. Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang -- really quick. Then, five minutes later the sirens were blaring and they took him away. I'm a regular in the gym and I'd always see him there. They must have known his routine, because he always goes on a Saturday."

Another eyewitness, who was on his way into the gym said he saw Foley being treated in the ambulance and believed he was conscious while receiving the treatment.

"I saw him in the back of the ambulance. The door was opened and he looked like he was talking. He didn't look like he was in pain. He was on a stretcher at the time. It obviously seems like he had a close call. He seemed relaxed and it didn't look like they were in any hurry to take him off."

Singer Dickie Rock who lives nearby gave his reaction to the incident. He said he felt sorry for the well-known criminal.

He said: "I'm came out for a walk to see what happened. It can happen anywhere.

"It doesn't matter where you live these days. I feel sorry for him, no human being deserved that."

The scene was cordoned off and there was a heavy police presence. As the garda forensics began their technical examinations, about 50 people were standing around.

The road was blocked off about 100 yards from Kimmage crossroads.

Gardai immediately sealed off the scene of the latest shooting as they awaited the the arrival of technical experts at the scene while a widespread search for the gunmen was launched.

Foley last survived an assassination attempt on his life at the swimming pool at Terenure College in 2000 when he was shot several times in the legs after being approached by two men on a motorbike when he was leaving the pool.

Mr Foley, who has served jail terms for robbery and other offences, was a close associate of Martin 'The General' Cahill.

In April that year the Provisional IRA attempted to shoot Mr Foley, but the attempt was intercepted by gardai.

Two other attempts to assassinate him were made in the 1990s.

Known as the man they couldn't kill, Foley admitted in a rare interview five years ago that he had been deeply affected by his encounters with his would-be killers.

"When you are are shot on three different occasions and you have 11 holes in your body, psychologically the thing is never going to leave you," he said.

"And you would react to certain situations where anything bad might happen."

However despite the attempts on Foley's life, who is in his fifties, he prided himself on a strenuous daily fitness regime.

Foley made legal history, when he was awarded €193,000 in a lawsuit against criminal-turned-supergrass Charlie Bowden.

Bowden admitted to the Special Criminal Court that he had loaded the gun which was used to fire on Foley outside his home in Cashel Avenue in 1995.

Foley later recalled the gun attack involving Bowden, saying he saw two two masked men one with a submachinegun. It had only been seven weeks since he was shot previously.

Foley said: "I had read a lot of books about survival. Well, about techniques to avoid being assassinated. I had the door unlocked in the car, I kept it open.

"It would be a bad mistake for anybody to stay in the car -- because if the car is put out of action, you're still stuck in the car.

"I jumped over a nearby back wall, into a house and up the stairs. The back door had been open.

"I could hear crackling. I later learned that one of the guns had jammed. As I was going up the stairs, I was shot in the back. I had the entry of a .45 bullet in the back and the exit in the stomach, through the lung and so on."

But Foley kept going in a remarkable escape, saying: "You're inclined to run a little bit fast when somebody is firing at you. I jumped feet first through a window."

Foley fell onto a flat first-floor roof. "I rolled down and jumped off. He was still firing out the back window."

He said of the gunman: "I knew I was going to survive. Sure he was a f**king eejit anyway. It didn't make a difference. He was after firing 50 f**king rounds and he still couldn't get me. Sorry -- it was 43 rounds, to be precise."

Foley became known in the 1980s as a spokesman for a group of Dublin criminals who clashed with the Concerned Parents anti-drug movement. They dubbed themselves the Concerned Criminals Action Committee.

Foley was kidnapped by the IRA in 1984 but was freed after a shootout between the IRA gang and gardai in the Phoenix Park.

At one time he survived two murder attempts in the space of four months.

He was shot in December 1995 by a gunman who approached him near Fatima Mansions, Rialto, and in the second attack in Crumlin he was ambushed in his car and hit in the back.

- Don Lavery, Niamh Horan and Joanna Kiernan

'The Viper' shot at nine times in gangland attack

Sunday Tribune

Mick McCaffrey, Security Editor
ONE of the country's most notorious criminals, 'The Viper' Martin Foley, is in a critical condition in hospital after surviving a gangland assassination attempt.
Gardai say it is a "miracle" that the 55-yearold is alive after a gunman fired nine shots from a machine pistol at close range.
Foley was struck at least twice in the lower chest and a bullet grazed his head, but he was conscious leaving the scene and even told gardai the name of the man who shot him. The suspect is a 23-year-old man and comes from Clanbrassil Street in Dublin's south-inner city. He is a member of the drugs gang controlled by 27-year-old 'Fat' Freddie Thompson. Gardai fear that Foley's friends may try to seek revenge.
Dozens of armed gardai have been deployed to the streets of Crumlin and Drimnagh to prevent what could turn into a gangland war. Gardai had no intelligence that Foley was in any danger. He was shot as he left a gym on the Kimmage Cross Road at around 3pm yesterday afternoon.
The gunman escaped in a car that was later found burnt-out a short distance away.
January 27, 2008

Thursday, 17 January 2008

€6.5m worth of misery

€6.5m worth of misery
Stacking up the haul . . . some of the 32 kilos of heroin with an estimated street value of €6.5m seized by gardai


Thursday January 17 2008
A major heroin seizure in west Dublin has confirmed garda fears of a worrying increase in the supply of the killer drug across Europe this year.

Detectives seized 32 kilos of heroin, worth €6.5m on the streets, after a lengthy surveillance operation involving several garda units.

Last night a 35-year-old man, suspected by gardai of being a major drugs trafficker on the south and west side of the city, was in custody at Clondalkin garda station.

A female associate of the prime suspect, also aged 35, was being questioned by gardai about the haul.

Follow-up searches resulted in the freezing of over €60,000, which had been lodged in bank accounts by the suspect, and the seizure of three vehicles.

The heroin find is one of the biggest in the last couple of years.

The amount of heroin smuggled into the country in the past three years has increased almost fivefold from 26 kilos to 125.

Drug experts are bracing themselves for a big increase in heroin on the streets in 2008 and a rise in purity levels. Agencies are also concerned at the intelligence patterns showing that heroin is now available across the country and has spread into all social categories.

Control of the heroin trade is largely in the hands of crime gangs based in west and south Dublin where traditionally there has been a large number of addicts in suburbs ranging from Tallaght across to Clondalkin, Ronanstown, Ballyfermot, Blanchardstown and Finglas.

The latest seizure is believed by senior officers to have been destined for Tallaght, Clondalkin, Ronanstown and Ballyfermot.

It was recovered after detectives stopped a van at Coolmore Park in Palmerstown around teatime on Tuesday following what was described as a targeted intelligence-led operation.


The lengthy investigation was spearheaded by the Garda national drugs unit and local units from Ballyfermot and Clondalkin and also involved the Garda air support unit, dog unit, Criminal Assets Bureau and technical bureau.

Some of the heroin was found inside the van and gardai chased to the driver who fled the scene into a nearby park.

He was spotted dropping two bags of heroin, which were recovered, as other garda units joined the search.

Gardai said later they had recovered all of the heroin, a total of 32 one-kilo slabs. Also seized were the van, a BMW X5 four by four, owned by the male suspect, and a car.

Detectives found documentation relating to the bank accounts during a search of a house in Clondalkin and, with the assistance of the Criminal Assets Bureau, the money was frozen yesterday.

One of the officers heading the investigation, Det Supt Paddy Byrne said: "This is a very significant seizure. We see it not only as a victory for the gardai, but also for the community, as it removes a lot of heroin from the streets."

The male suspect had been under investigation by gardai in the past in connection with a number of major drug seizures and was regarded as a key player in the trafficking scene.

He was suspected to have been linked to British drug smuggling gangs and to have also been associated in the past with the gang led by jailed gangland boss John Gilligan.