By Cormac Looney
Wednesday February 11 2009
THE latest victim of Dublin's gangland was quizzed before his death over a pal's murder.
Detectives detained Michael Hendrick (36) on suspicion of withholding information on the murder of Chris- topher 'Git' McDonagh, who was shot dead in Ronanstown.
McDonagh, a one-time drug dealer who had tried to distance himself from organised crime, was shot dead in his garden after leaping from a second floor window to escape.
Gardai believe McDonagh (27) was a victim of a feud in a Clondalkin drugs gang, which has claimed a number of lives.
Hendrick was a fringe member of the same outfit and was arrested by detectives shortly after McDonagh's murder, questioned and released without charge. He was an associate of McDonagh in the past.
Gardai do not believe that Hendrick had a direct involvement in McDonagh's killing, but suspected he had information in relation to the men who carried it out.
One officer said: "Hendrick was small fry, a recovering addict who was trying to make ends meet. He was far from a Mr Big. But he had associated with major criminals and those connections are hard to break."
A definite motive for Mr Hendrick's murder has not been established, but gardai are examining links with the McDonagh killing, and the gang feud.
It is believed that the victim travelled from his home in Clonee to his former patch in Clondalkin on Monday night to meet with an associate, and that he was shot shortly after arriving by a gunman using a .22 automatic pistol.
The killer cycled away from the scene, at Melrose Park, across Cuthbert Park in the direction of Bawnogue.
A number of Mr Hendrick's pals have died as a result of an internal row in a Clondalkin gang, which has claimed the lives of Richie McCormack (29), who was shot dead last March, and Eoin McCarthy (22), who was shot dead in October 2005.
Mr Hendrick was also a pal of Karl Breen, the 'Moet Killer', who is serving a sentence for stabbing a pal after a champagne party at a Dublin hotel.
Mr Hendrick's partner, Ellen Doyle, insisted that the father-of-three was "set up" and denied some reports that he was a "drug lord".
"We have nothing. He wasn't a drug dealer. He was set up. He was told to go over and meet a person and he went over and he got shot," she added.
Gardai will today interview Ms Doyle and a man who was with Mr Hendrick when he got shot, who is not involved in crime and had no knowledge of the attempt on Mr Hendricks' life. He was not injured in the incident, but is reportedly deeply traumatised.
- Cormac Looney