Mick McCaffrey Security Editor
Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy: top priorityGardaí have identified two prime suspects for the murder of rugby captain Shane Geoghegan last week and believe the pair have fled to Britain.
The Sunday Tribune understands the man who pulled the trigger is in his early 20s and from Dublin's north inner city.
He is related to slain gangland executioner Paddy Doyle, who was shot dead in Spain last February.
The man is not well-known to gardaí and is believed to have got involved in organised crime following Doyle's murder.
He has previous convictions for minor offences and was not on the garda's radar before last Sunday morning's murder.
Sources say he moved to Limerick two months ago and has been living with a member of the McCarthy-Dundon crime gang.
It is believed he carried out the killing as a favour to the Limerick gang. He was spotted by gardaí at Sheriff Street in Dublin within the past 10 days.
Paddy Doyle and his crime associate, 'Fat' Freddie Thompson, had built close ties with the Dundon gang and gardaí say the Limerick and Dublin outfits are effectively intertwined, which is making the investigation more difficult because it spans garda divisions.
The Dublin suspect was driven to the scene of the murder in Dooradoyle by a
19-year-old from the Prospect area of Limerick.
The man is well-known to detectives in the city and is a lieutenant in the Dundon-McCarthy gang.
He assumed more responsibility in the gang after the jailing of key members over the past two years.
The two hitmen drove to the Clonmore area of the Kilteragh housing estate with the intention of murdering a 33-year-old member of the Keane/Collopy gang.
The man has lived in the area for several years and has been the victim of three previous attacks in which bullets were fired at his home.
Because the gunman was not a local and did not know the area, he mistook the innocent 28-year-old Shane Geoghegan for his intended target and shot him five times with a Glock pistol close to the home he shared with his fiancée.
The intended target of the attack has now gone to ground.
After the botched assassination, the two men are believed to have immediately travelled to Liverpool and are thought to be staying in a safe house while senior gang members decide what to do next.
The intention of the assassination had been to weaken the Keane gang before its leader, Christy Keane, is released from Portlaoise prison next February.
The Dundon gang has managed to weaken its rivals significantly and wants to take control of drug dealing in the city.
The Geoghegan murder has had the opposite effect, however, and has resulted in the city being swarmed with uniformed and plain-clothes gardaí.
Garda commissioner Fachtna Murphy is under significant political pressure to solve the murder, and the fact that more than 30 homes in Limerick, Cork and Dublin were raided last week shows the investigation is the force's top priority.
However, senior sources say it will be very difficult to bring those responsible to justice because it is likely the murder weapon will never be found and the killers are believed to have left few forensic clues at the scene.
November 16, 2008