Clash with crime boss believed to be motive for killing
By Tom Brady and Stephen O'Farrell
Monday August 25 2008
A CLASH with a crime boss earlier this month may have sealed the fate of armed robber Paul "Farmer" Martin who was shot dead in a Dublin pub after a funeral at the weekend.
Martin (39) was shot once in the head and four times in the stomach and shoulder as he mingled with mourners in the Jolly Toper pub on Church Street, in Finglas, on the northside of the capital on Saturday night.
Senior gardai were last night examining a number of theories in a bid to uncover the motive for the callously executed shooting. Detectives were trying to determine if the shooting was linked to a row a few days earlier.
Garda intelligence indicated that Martin, a well-known criminal in the city since his teens, had clashed with a major underworld figure who is now believed to be in charge of the gang formerly led by Martin "Marlo" Hyland.
The suspect joined forces with other leading criminals to take over the remnants of the gang after Hyland was shot dead in Finglas.
The suspect is also believed by detectives to have played a leading part in organising an armed robbery foiled by the gardai last year.
Martin, who was originally from the Cardiffsbridge Road area of Finglas but had lived at several other addresses in the district, had a dozen criminal convictions.
Most of the convictions were for larceny and road traffic offences, but he served a five-year jail sentence after being arrested in connection with the armed hold-up of a Bank of Ireland branch, in Ardee, Co Louth, in November 1997.
Martin had a reputation in gangland circles as a bully and was also known to have issued threats to gardai and intimidated potential witnesses.
One senior garda said last night: "He made a lot of enemies during his criminal career and there is no shortage of suspects who have to be checked out".
Also injured in the attack was another Finglas man, originally from the Kippure Park area. He was drinking with Martin and was hit in the stomach. His condition last night was described as stable.
Two masked men, armed with handguns, threatened the doormen at the pub shortly before 6.30pm on Saturday, and then ran upstairs where the mourners were drinking.
They singled out their victim and pumped five bullets into him, as well as shooting his friend. They sped off in a waiting jeep, which was later found burnt out in the Hampton housing estate, off the Navan Road.
The two victims were rushed to the Mater hospital where Martin was pronounced dead shortly before 8pm.
Gardai initially met a hostile reception when they arrived at the pub, but officers said the tensions were eased quickly.
Last night gardai said they were receiving good co-operation from the patrons of the pub.
But Superintendent John Hartnett issued a fresh appeal to the public for further help.
He described the two gunmen as tall and quite slim. Both were wearing dark-coloured clothing and their faces were covered.
Supt Hartnett said it appeared that a third person had been waiting outside the pub for the gunmen in the getaway vehicle.
Last night detectives were continuing to interview others who had been in the pub at the time and were also examining footage from a CCTV camera outside the premises.
During the past few years, "Farmer" Martin had been associating with members of the Hyland gang but then fell out of favour with them and became an enemy.
"He changed sides in gangs several times as he extended his criminal activities, mainly involving himself in armed robberies and more recently in the drugs trade.
"He had been active on the crime scene since a young age", a detective added, "and was well known to gardai around the city, particularly in relation to robberies and possession of firearms".
Gardai said they were particularly anxious to hear from anybody who spotted the dark coloured getaway vehicle and asked anybody with information to contact them at 01 6667500.
- Tom Brady and Stephen O'Farrell