Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Shot three times in the head, drug dealer who was prime suspect for attempted murder

Irish Herald

By Cormac Looney and Charlie Mallon
Tuesday March 31 2009
A drug dealer whose body was found on wasteground in north Dublin was the chief suspect for the attempted murder of another man two months ago.
David 'Fred' Lynch (26) is believed to have been the gunman behind an attack on the man at his north Dublin home in January.
The target in that shooting narrowly escaped with his life, after being shot in the neck and chest. Gardai believe Lynch targeted the man as part of a criminal feud.
Lynch was also suspected of setting up a rival gang member to be attacked in Darndale in the early hours of last Sunday morning. The man, a criminal from Kilbarrick, was shot in the leg after meeting members of another outfit for "peace talks" on wasteground there.
The injured man remains in hospital today. An associate of Lynch's was arrested by gardai close to the scene last Sunday, but later released without charge.
Members of that outfit are now the main suspects for murdering Lynch last Sunday. The dead man had been notified by officers of a plot to target him on the part of the rival criminal gang in recent weeks. He ignored these garda warnings, sources said.
The shootings are the latest in a number of gang attacks associated with the feud. In another recent incident, a gang member was shot at as he left a north Dublin gym.
Lynch's body was discovered yesterday at 4pm on wasteground close to Newtown Court apartments, near the Hilton Hotel, at Belcamp Lane. A passer-by walking his dog found the remains. He had been shot three times in the head.
Gardai are now trying to establish if Lynch was murdered at the scene or if he was shot elsewhere, and his body moved to the wasteground.
From Ferrycarrig in Coolock, the dead man was well known to officers in north Dublin and has a long-time involvement in gun and drug crime, officers said. He survived a previous assassination attempt in October 2006, when he lost his kidney after being shot at The Towers pub in Ballymun.
That attack was believed to have been related to a separate underworld feud that Lynch's gang were involved with, with a gang from the north inner city.
The dad had served a number of sentences in recent years, and was recently released from prison in the North, where he had served a sentence for theft. He returned to Dublin late last year and became involved in the ongoing feud between his associates and a rival Coolock-Darndale criminal gang.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Sunday Tribune
Garda informant found dismembered in Holland
Mick McCaffrey and Ali Bracken
Amsterdam canal: body foundA garda informant who betrayed a notorious west Dublin crime gang has been found dismembered and dumped in a canal in Amsterdam.
The Sunday Tribune understands that 30-year-old Keith Ennis was murdered after tipping off gardaí about a major drugs factory in Walkinstown in October 2007.
The information resulted in the seizure of cocaine with an estimated value of €100,000 and five firearms belonging to associates of leading criminal Mark Desmond.
Desmond (33) was charged with the murders of Patrick Murray and Darren Carey, who were shot and dumped in the Grand Canal in Co Kildare in December 1999.
The charges were dropped by the DPP on the day the trial was due to begin and nobody else was ever prosecuted. In October 2007, Keith Ennis, a father of one, was stopped by gardaí from Pearse Street in possession of €16,000 cash.
A few days later, detectives went to his apartment in Clondalkin to give him a receipt for the seized money and discovered he was in possession of a loaded Glock pistol and €2,000 worth of cocaine. When he was taken into custody he gave gardaí valuable information about the drugs gang he was working for. It was led by a man from Clondalkin who is now serving a lengthy sentence for manslaughter and by a major drug dealer from Co Kildare.
As a result of the intelligence given by Ennis, gardaí raided an industrial estate in Walkinstown and three handguns two sawn-off shotguns and €100,000 worth of cocaine. While gardaí were still at the premises, two men appeared to collect the drugs and were arrested and charged.
The drugs gang realised Ennis had informed on them. After he was charged with being in possession of the gun and cocaine, he promptly left the country for his own safety.
It is believed he first went to Spain and then to Holland. Three weeks ago, Dutch police recovered a body in a canal in Amsterdam. The victim had been stabbed to death and dismembered before being dumped in a suitcase.
The remains were identified only after the Dutch authorities sent DNA and fingerprints of the man to gardaí who were able to verify his identity.
It is believed the Dutch police are investigating the possibility the dead man fell out with local criminals over an unpaid drug debt although they have not ruled out Irish involvement.
Police still do not know where Ennis was murdered and gardaí are cooperating with the investigation.
The dead man had a small number of criminal convictions for minor offences. There was an outstanding arrest warrant after he fled the country after being charged with the drugs and gun offences.
March 29, 2009

Irish gang killings spread overseas

Dubliner found dead in an Amsterdam canal
Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
The Observer, Sunday 29 March 2009
Dublin's gangland feuds, violent vendettas and tit-for-tat murders have spread to mainland Europe, Irish security sources warned last night. They said the killing of a former arms and drugs trafficker, whose body was found in an Amsterdam canal, had been ordered by an Irish gangland boss.
Dutch police confirmed this weekend that they had discovered the remains of a 30-year-old Dubliner, who they believe was dumped in a canal three weeks ago. Garda sources have named the victim as Keith Ennis.
The gruesome discovery has brought the Dublin gangland death toll to 11 in 2009. Garda sources said they believed Ennis was abducted and killed on the orders of a gangster with an extremely violent reputation. The gang boss had suspected him of working for the Garda, they added.
Ennis is understood to have fled to the Netherlands at the end of last year fearing he would be unmasked as an informant. He was known as a suspected gun and drug dealer and had been charged a year and a half ago after €100,000 worth of drugs and five firearms were recovered in Dublin.
The Garda and the Dutch police are now trying to establish where he was killed. Ennis was only identified through his DNA and fingerprints after Dutch police contacted the Garda.
The gangster whom Garda sources believe ordered Ennis's death has been behind the killings of at least six men in Dublin's ongoing gang wars.
Ennis, of Oakway, Clondalkin, absconded while on bail after being charged with possession of cocaine and a Glock semi-automatic pistol in November 2007. He was thought to be a one-time associate of one of the biggest drug gangs in Dublin, which included former members of the Irish National Liberation Army and the now defunct Irish People's Liberation Organisation.
The gang has close links with former Irish drug dealers now based in the Netherlands who are believed to have tracked Ennis down.
So far, all of the 11 Dublin gangland murders since the start of 2009 remain unsolved. However, gardaí in the Kevin Street District have sent files to the director of public prosecutions in relation to the murder of "Champagne" Johnny Carroll, shot dead in at a pub in The Coombe on 18 February.
More than 20 people have been arrested in relation to that murder, and last week gardaí arrested and questioned a 61-year-old man related to the prime suspect.
Garda sources said that Ennis's body had been dismembered. This is the first time this is known to have happened in an Irish gangland killing.
The gang responsible for the Ennis murder is one of the most violent in Dublin, according to Garda sources.
Meanwhile, the other main centre of Irish gang warfare, Limerick City, remains relatively quiet since the accidental death of Philip Collopy last weekend. The gangster aligned to the Keane-Collopy gang in the city shot himself during what he thought was a mock-game of Russian roulette. Collopy had remembered to pull out the magazine of his Glock semi-automatic pistol and put the weapon to his head but he had forgotten that a single round was still inside the gun when he pulled the trigger.
It is understood that a teenager was filming the stunt on a mobile phone at the time when the gun was discharged. Collopy was buried last week in the flak jacket he wore for protection against his gang's main rivals, the Dundon-McCarthy gang. Last week in a move to calm tensions in the city, the Dundon-McCarthy families sent a message of condolence to the Keane-Collopy gang over Collopy's death.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Ice skater slips up with documentary on crime

Sunday Tribune

Donal MacIntyre's documentary on Dublin crime has been slammed as inaccurate, writes Ali Bracken
The show carried a number of wild inaccuracies, including calling Dorset Street 'Dorcher Street'
A scenes from the Bravo documentary 'World's Toughest Towns' which featured Dublin last week.
Donal MacIntyre
1 2 3 4 A television documentary which labels Dublin as one of the 'World's Toughest Towns' has been slammed as "wildly sensationalist" and contains lots of glaring inaccuracies.
The show, hosted by undercover journalist turned celebrity ice skater Donal MacIntyre, incorrectly states that one person a day dies from drug overdoses in Ireland; the real figure is fewer than 80 a year.
MacIntyre also claims that a sniffer dog was kidnapped and killed by gangland criminals because the animal was so successful in thwarting its operations. This never happened.
MacIntyre, born in Celbridge, Co Kildare but now based in England, returned to Ireland to make a documentary for British TV about gang activity in the capital earlier this year.
In the opening segment, the Kildare man says: "This is Dublin, my home town. I've come back to find out why the city I love is tearing itself apart. Dublin is in the grip of a gang war that is being played out on the city's streets."
MacIntyre begins the programme by "going to speak to the drunken hordes" about their views on Dublin and he soon informs the audience about the extent of capital's drugs problem: "Every day in Ireland, someone dies from a drug overdose."
However, Tony Geoghegan, director at Merchants Quay Ireland, which works with drug users, said this was incorrect. "There is an average of 70 to 80 drug overdoses resulting in death each year in Ireland."
Customs sniffer dog 'killed'
The journalist then continues his exploration of crime in the capital by interviewing customs officials about their battle to catch smugglers. Viewers are told by MacIntyre that a customs sniffer dog was "kidnapped from his kennel by suspected gangland criminals. Because he was such a threat to their business, they decided to kill him". No more details are provided in the documentary about when and where this took place.
The Sunday Tribune has established that no customs dog has ever been murdered in the capital or anywhere else. Ten years ago, a customs dog was stolen in Rosslare, Co Wexford, but was later returned unharmed, according to a garda source.
The journalist then begins to probe the ongoing feud between criminals in Crumlin and Drimnagh, and mistakenly comments that Drimnagh is in "north Dublin" when in fact it's on the capital's south side.
MacIntyre then interviews Sunday World crime editor Paul Williams about murders in the capital since the beginning of the year. "It's just f***ing crazy out there at the moment," Williams tells the camera while simultaneously talking on two mobile phones.
However, MacIntyre's most outlandish claim concerns the use of car bombs in Dublin. "The use of car bombs has increased 300% since 2007," he says. A Defence Forces spokesman said there hasn't been a car bomb in Dublin since the Dublin-Monaghan bombings in 1974.
"There has been an increase in homemade bombs, what the press refers to as pipe bombs, but these are very different to car bombs. In 2007, our bomb disposal unit had 98 callouts and there were 178 in 2008; only 27 of them were viable. That is not a 300% increase though, that's roughly a 100% increase and many of those devices were not viable. He's completely off the mark."
Throughout the programme, there is footage of army bomb disposal teams at work. The Defence Forces spokesman, who has watched the documentary, said "all of the footage used is of British army bomb disposal teams, not Irish."
Continuing his examination of the use of explosives in Dublin's gangland turf war, MacIntyre then travels to Britain to meet a bomb expert who shows in exact detail how to construct a homemade bomb and where exactly to plant it under a car for maximum explosive value.
"This is irresponsible journalism and extremely dangerous," said a garda source. "It's basically a lesson to any criminals watching how to make a decent homemade bomb. The whole programme was wildly sensationalist."
After attaching the bomb to the car, MacIntyre and the British bomb expert, Tony Lewis, then go to a nearby shed and press a button on a remote control to explode the car. However, the Defence Forces spokesman said the type of bomb constructed would not be set off by remote control: "A remote device would not have set that bomb off. It is done with cables."
MacIntyre also interviews a member of the Dublin Fire Brigade, officer Barney Mulhall, about dealing with violence on the streets. Mulhall says: "It was only last year that someone decided to go around with a Stanley blade attacking a number of citizens in the city. He got about nine people before gardaí got a hold of him. He was attacking people who weren't residents here."
Four stabbings, not nine
The garda press office said there was an incident last year in which four people were stabbed in the city centre and a 21-year-old man is before the courts in relation to these attacks.
"A Stanley blade was not used and it was four stabbings, not nine. They were random attacks; it was not targeted at people visiting here," a source said. A spokesman for Dublin Fire Brigade declined to comment.
MacIntyre also claims that Ireland's biggest criminal is John Gilligan, who ordered Veronica Guerin's murder. Gilligan is no longer involved in organised crime and has been replaced by younger and far more violent criminals.
Similarly, he claims that the Crumlin-Drimnagh drugs feud, which has resulted in 13 murders, is between 'Fat' Freddie Thompson and Declan Duffy. This is incorrect. Declan 'Whacker' Duffy, or "the Whacker" as MacIntyre refers to him, is not involved in the feud.
Fine Gael's justice spokesman, Charlie Flanagan, also watched the programme, aired on 10 March and again on 15 March on the Bravo channel, and said he found it "disappointing".
"I was disappointed that MacIntyre's documentary on Dublin was made for a foreign audience and depicted only one aspect of the city. Irish people are aware of the broader context of the gang problem in Dublin; foreign people generally are not. Therefore, I am disappointed that Dublin has been portrayed so negatively for a British audience," he said.
When contacted by the Sunday Tribune, Bravo said that they are investigating the content of the programme.
March 22, 2009

Friday, 20 March 2009

Young guns launch second wave in bloody gang feud

Young guns launch second wave in bloody gang feud

By Tom Brady

Friday March 20 2009

A new breed of young criminals have launched a "second division" of the deadly Crumlin-Drimnagh feud and gardai fear it could result in fresh bloodshed following a series of shooting incidents in the south Dublin districts.

The younger generation have lined up behind the leaders of the two rival factions involved in the initial warfare but are running their own feud.

The opening up of a new 'front' in the south city suburbs has resulted in extra patrols being sent onto the streets to prevent further loss of life.


Senior gardai disclosed last night that armed personnel from the Garda organised crime unit and the Special Branch have been drafted into Crumlin and the surrounding areas to back up local plainclothes and uniformed members.

One garda admitted last night: "This development is worrying as it involves gangs of young and inexperienced criminals who are armed and off their heads on cocaine."

The secondary feud has already resulted in several shootings in the past month, with up to 10 houses targeted by the thugs, who roam the suburbs at night in stolen cars.

In some incidents, the homes of innocent people have been wrongly selected by the gunmen, who are seeking out houses used by members of the rival gang. Gardai have so far arrested nine youngsters for questioning in connection with the attacks but no criminal charges have been brought, although inquiries are continuing.

Officers said those involved are all in their late teens or early 20s and many have connections with members of the main gangs. One youth is a close relative of a victim of the initial feud, while another is the son of a major southside Dublin criminal who was an armed robber in the 1990s.

Until last weekend when Shay O'Byrne, the suspected right-hand man of one of the gang leaders, was gunned down in Tallaght, gardai had managed through a combination of intensive patrolling and intelligence-led operations to curb the rise in the feud death toll, which reached 10 lives in December 2006. Armed gardai were sent onto the streets last July after foiling a gangland hit by confronting and arresting an armed suspect. And up to a week ago, that garda activity had paid dividends.

The garda source said:"The start of 'division two' of the feud has added a new dimension to the problem and increases the prospects of an innocent person being shot because of the random way in which these youths operate, as well as making it potentially more dangerous for gardai patrolling the neighbourhoods."


"It has introduced the feud, which has existed since 2001, to a new generation and unless we can get it under control it is going to bring more grief to people in those areas," he added.

Gardai believe they know the identity of most of those involved in the factions and are keeping the main suspects under close surveillance.

However, they are concerned that "outsiders" could be brought in to carry out new attacks.

- Tom Brady

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Herald investigation: 14 dead so far in Dublin but the toll will mount

Irish Herald

By Cormac Looney
Wednesday March 18 2009
THE MURDER of gangster Shay O'Byrne has been linked to the emergence a new breed of younger, more violent type of criminal within Crumlin's two feuding crime gangs.
The outfits, led by Freddie Thompson on one side and the jailed head of the Rastas on the other, have been engaged in a devastating dispute for the past eight years, which has claimed 14 lives to date.
Shay O'Byrne, who was a trusted and loyal lieutenant of the jailed boss, became the latest victim when he was shot dead outside the home he shared with his partner, Sharon Rattigan, at Tymon North in Tallaght, on Friday.
While his family have denied that O'Byrne was involved in criminality, sources indicate he regularly featured in intelligence reports for his links to serious drugs crime.
He was regarded as the second-in-command of the Rastas and his murder has been seen by gardai as a significant escalation in violence associated with the feud. Officers are treating it as the most significant murder in the dispute since that of O'Byrne's close pal Gary Bryan (31), who was shot dead in September 2006.
The suspects for O'Byrne's murder are not on the higher rungs within the Thompson gang, but younger and more volatile criminals who have been recruited by senior figures to oversee drug supply on the streets, and collect debts from addicts.
A fifth man (31) was in custody today for the killing - suspected of withholding information.
One source described the younger gang membership as the "junior team", criminals who have been raised within the feud and who are carrying out attacks on each other, on properties, and on innocent people on the basis of a grudge which arose when they themselves were just children.
A source said: "Leading players in the underworld tend to have a short shelf life. There are very few major street criminals over 40. So the first wave within each gang is now in their late 20s and early 30s -- which effectively makes them grandads in gang terms. The older lads are smart and will never touch firearms or drugs. We stop them a couple of times a week, search their cars and there's never a sniff of drugs or firearms.
"In fact these older guys are happy to be stopped. It gives them street cred and if it's known that they're under heavy surveillance it's less likely that there will be an attack on them." The source added: "Even though they do not carry the weapons or the drugs you can be sure that the stuff is close by. With one phone call they can access a firearm, which can be delivered in minutes, particularly in their strong-holds in the south inner city and Crumlin.
"For example it's quite likely that the weapon in the O'Byrne murder was only handed to the killer just minutes, if not seconds, before the shooting occurred."
The murder of O'Byrne is similar to a number of others linked to the feud. Like his pal Gary Bryan, he was targeted when he was with his family, and innocent relatives and children were close by when the shooting occurred.
But what shocked gardai in last week's shooting is the fact that smallscale gang members carried out the murder, and that the heavy hitters within the Thompson gang are not suspected in relation to the killing.
The source said: "When violence and shootings occurred previously in the Crumlin feud, we could almost name the shooter in seconds. The same guys did the work, they had experience and they were relatively efficient.
"A good example would be Paddy Doyle, who worked as Thompson gang enforcer. He was older, more reliable and had hits under his belt.
"But the suspects for last week's attack are the opposite. Two of four men arrested are in their mid-20s and one is his late teens. This is the new wave and this is their first big hit."
Investigating gardai believe that the immediate motive for the killing is a tit-for-tat series of shootings carried out by two groups of younger criminals on either side of the gang divide, which have occurred in the greater Crumlin area since Christmas. 
The attacks have seen houses and people targeted, usually from vehicles.
There have been no injuries from the drive-by shootings, but the six or so incidents have led to heightened tension between the gangs. All of the attacks have been caused by inter-gang feuding over drug supply to south and west Dublin.
Gardai believe that younger Thompson associates decided to kill O'Byrne to make their mark, impress their boss, and build their own reputations.
A source said: "The group involved in the O'Byrne killing took a very high-risk bet. They have elevated themselves to big players but the price is massive. The jailed gang boss was very close to O'Byrne and he will have to be seen to act. For the immediate future the rule on the streets of Crumlin will be 'get or be got'. It's a nightmare situation because innocent people are in the firing line.
"Sharon Rattigan witnessed her partner being murdered and was herself shot, all in front of her newborn child -- an unbelievably traumatic experience."
Despite recent overtime cutbacks, extra armed gardai were deployed in Crumlin in recent days in attempts to calm the situation.
A tentative peace, brokered between individuals on both sides of the feud, had prevailed for three months before last Friday's attack.
The source said: "The Christmas feud was worked out with the blessing of senior gang members. You could deal with these guys to some extent, they were that bit older and had families.
"But the new young crew have no commitments. Their life is on the street, they consume large amounts of alcohol and cocaine on a daily basis.
"As a result they are impossible to deal with, or reason with to any degree.
"And they are now trapped in a kill or be killed situation, so you can imagine how unstable the whole thing is."
The source added: "Before last week we would have been happy to get people down around a table to try to put the peace on a firmer footing.
"But O'Byrne's murder has wrecked all that.
"The only certainty now is that we'll have more violence."
- Cormac Looney

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Four held over gangland feud killing released

Irish Herald

By Charlie Mallon
Tuesday March 17 2009
A teenage girl and three men quizzed about the weekend murder of a leading gangland figure Shay O'Byrne in Dublin have been released.
A 16-year-old girl was detained yesterday as part of the on-going investigation into the shooting dead of the 27-year-old in Tallaght on Friday night.
His partner Sharon Rattigan (26) grappled with the gunman outside their home in Tymon Park North, Tallaght. Their 18-month-old toddler Nicky was uninjured.
The teenager is understood to be linked to one of three men arrested in a swoop by armed detectives immediately after the shooting.
She was taken to Terenure garda station while the men had been questioned in Rathfarnham and Tallaght stations.
Files are being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will decide if charges should be brought against them.
Investigating officers have a number of vital leads which could bring the killer and his getaway driver to justice.
A forensic team is examining a silver Nissan Primera which was stopped in the Crumlin area on Friday night. It matches the description of a car seen leaving the scene.
Sharon Rattigan, who discharged herself from Tallaght hospital on Saturday morning, is also a vital witness.
Having tackled the gunman, she may have picked up vital DNA evidence.
The investigating team has also recovered a gun in a follow- up search.
Information given to them describes the killer as 25 to 30 years old, about 5ft 9ins tall with dark hair. He was dressed in black and was wearing a hood.
The other man is believed to be in his mid to late 30s, 5ft 8ins to 5ft 9ins tall, with a strong build and dark, tight-cut hair. The shooting has led to increased security in the area with several individuals being warned that their lives are in danger.
The O'Byrne family were today finalising the funeral arrangements. In a statement they denied that Shay was a leading criminal and asked to be left in peace to mourn him.
They said they did "not accept" reports of his criminality and added: "Terrible things have been said about Seamus. The family beg to be left in peace."
But senior gardai insist he was aligned to the leader of one of the feuding Crumlin-Drimnagh drug gangs.
Investigating detectives have been given the name of the gunman involved.
The killing has heightened tensions once again in the area, with fears that the warring factions will recommence the tit-for-tat war which has plagued the area since 2001.
In February 2004, members of the rival Freddie Thompson gang attacked an innocent man at Lansdowne Valley apartments, after mistaking him for O'Byrne.
Anyone with any information on Friday night's attack is asked to contact gardai at Tallaght on 01 6666056 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.
- Charlie Mallon