Gardai warning to gangsters as violence spirals
Three arrested after criminal's murder as fear rises of bloody retaliation from rival gangs
By GRIM SCENE: Gardai gathering evidence last night where Seamus O'Byrne, 27, was shot. Photo: Niall Carson JIM CUSACK
Sunday March 15 2009
Gardai have issued "hundreds" of written cautions to gangland figures in Dublin as they believe the feuding in the city is spiralling out of control.
And, the gardai in the south city were on alert yesterday for expected retaliation for the latest murder, that of Seamus O'Byrne, 27, who died after being shot in the back outside a house in Tymon North Park in Tallaght on Friday evening. His partner, Sharon Rattigan, 26, was shot in the leg as she tried to tackle the killers. She is recovering in hospital.
Gardai fear that the murder of O'Byrne, who was second in command of one of the feuding south inner city gangs, will lead to bloody retaliation. So far, an estimated 15 people have been murdered in this feud since it broke out in 2000.
There are several other feuds running the city. In one north side garda district, 65 official cautions have been issued to gangland figures after gardai received tip-offs about imminent threats on their lives.
In the Kevin Street and Sundrive Road districts where the south city feud has been raging, more than 100 such written cautions have been issued. The situation is worse in Finglas and is repeated across the high-crime areas of the west city.
The official garda warnings containing advice on personal security began being issued last year. Some gardai believe they have become so commonplace now that they are contributing to the fear and suspicion in the city.
There have been eight gangland murders in Dublin since the start of the year and gardai expect retaliation for each of them. In some feuding hot-spots, 24-hour armed gardai are on duty.
The latest victim was himself suspected of murdering gang rival Paul Warren, 23, from St Theresa's Gardens, who was shot dead while drinking in a pub in Newmarket Square in February 2004. This murder was carried to avenge the murder of O'Byrne's former gang member, Joseph Rattigan, 18, of Cooley Road, in Drimnagh in July 2002. Sharon Rattigan, O'Byrne's partner who was injured on Friday night, is a sister of Joseph Rattigan.
O'Byrne was originally from Lansdowne Valley in Drimnagh, and had moved home on several occasions in recent years because of the grave threats to his life. He had been living in the house in Tallaght since around the start of this year.
The gunman who murdered him dumped the handgun at the scene. Gardai say that the feud murders are often opportunistic affairs and it was possible his rivals had discovered his whereabouts and mounted a surprise attack.
They say the gangs have so many guns now they do not care about losing some. Also, leaving the gun reduces the possibility of being caught with the murder weapon.
Gardai investigating Friday night's fatal shooting in Tallaght have made three arrests. The three men were detained in the early hours of yesterday morning in the Crumlin area.
One man is in his late teens and the other two are in their mid 20s. They can be held for up to 72 hours.
In sharp contrast with Dublin, the feuding in Limerick remains under control following the instigation of a peace process between families who have attacked each other for years.
There have been no murders in Limerick since last November when rugby captain Shane Geoghegan was shot dead after he was mistaken for a local drug dealer.
- GRIM SCENE: Gardai gathering evidence last night where Seamus O'Byrne, 27, was shot. Photo: Niall Carson JIM CUSACK