Saturday, 25 July 2009

Gardai vow to use full force of new crime law in war on gang bosses

Gardai vow to use full force of new crime law in war on gang bosses

By Tom Brady Security Editor

Saturday July 25 2009

GARDA Commissioner Fachtna Murphy has sent a stern message to gang bosses that his officers would not hold back on using new legislation to bring them to justice.

He told crime lords that gardai know who they are and are gathering evidence to bring them before the courts.

He said yesterday that the new legislation, signed this week by President Mary McAleese, would be implemented in a proportionate and appropriate way -- but he warned that the spiral of gangland murders had to stop.

Mr Murphy was backed up by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern, who said the emergence of a gun culture in Ireland had to be halted.

Mr Ahern had earlier announced that his bill, introducing tough controls on legally held firearms and a ban on handguns, had been signed into law by Mrs McAleese.

This is the third in a trilogy of laws brought in by the Government this week to combat the use of firearms and crack down on gangland bosses through new measures.

Mr Ahern said experience in other countries showed that any relaxation of controls on gun ownership or registration very quickly resulted in dramatic growth in firearms.

"I will not allow that to happen on my watch," he declared during a garda graduation ceremony at the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary.

Mr Murphy described the new laws as another tool in the armoury of the State to tackle the crime gangs. He promised they would be used by his members as part of their ongoing war on serious crime.

Mr Murphy would not be drawn on a timeframe for a clampdown on the gang bosses and their key associates.

But he promised that the laws would be enforced at the earliest opportunity.

Mr Murphy assured the public that the legislation would not be used in a draconian way and would be implemented in a similar fashion to the Proceeds of Crime Act, which was introduced after the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996.


He confirmed a report in yesterday's Irish Independent that he and his operations supremo, Deputy Commissioner Martin Callinan, had held a series of meetings with senior officers nationwide and had prepared strategies on how to combat the gangs.

Much of the vital information, which will form the basis of the garda files on the gang leaders to be submitted to the DPP, has already been gathered through intelligence and monitoring of suspects.

The main figures in the top gangs will be the priority targets for the gardai. Mr Murphy pointed out that the good work already achieved by the force was evident from the annual report from the courts service, which recorded a major increase in the number of prosecutions brought for serious offences.

And in a reference to the bosses to be targeted through the Special Criminal Court, the commissioner added: "It would be naive to think we don't know who they are. We are already working to bring them before the courts."

Meanwhile, the funeral of Anthony Cannon, the latest victim of the Crumlin-Drimnagh gang feud, which has already claimed 12 lives, will take place today in the centre of Dublin.

Cannon, from Robert Street in the south inner city, was shot yesterday week in Ballyfermot by members of the rival gang in the feud.

- Tom Brady Security Editor

Friday, 24 July 2009

Gardai primed to swoop on top gangland bosses

Gardai primed to swoop on top gangland bosses

By Tom Brady, Barry Duggan and Dearbhail McDonald

Friday July 24 2009

GARDAI will launch an unprecedented blitz on the country's crime lords within days after the Government's gangland crackdown measures became law.

Senior garda officers had already identified their prime targets in advance of the enactment of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill, which was signed into law by President Mary McAleese yesterday.

Special garda strategies have been determined at a series of crime summits, chaired by Commissioner Fachtna Murphy and his operations supremo, Deputy Commissioner Martin Callinan, the Irish Independent has learned.

"This is an across-the-force initiative," one senior officer told the Irish Independent last night. "We have been laying the ground for a move against the main targets, in preparation for the measures becoming law.

"The focus will initially be on those who have already been the subject of a lot of garda profiling and surveillance in the recent past. They will be our immediate priorities," he added.


Detectives in Limerick are preparing to mount a major offensive against 25 "hardcore" criminals at the centre of the city's murderous feud who have been under 24-hour surveillance. Sources last night said a garda swoop was "imminent".

The Irish Independent has also learned that three senior members of the Keane-Collopy gang and a drugs importer who was targeted by their rivals, the McCarthy-Dundons, when they mistakenly murdered innocent rugby player Shane Geoghegan have all fled Limerick for Spain.

However, criminal defence lawyers last night warned the legislation will be challenged up to the Supreme Court when the first of the new offences are heard and determined.

But Justice Minister Dermot Ahern welcomed the new legislation, which was signed by the President following consultation with her Council of State.

The new act and its sister measure, the Criminal Justice Surveillance Act, "provide vital legislative provisions for the gardai in their fight against gangland activities", Mr Ahern said.

"Make no mistake: the fight against the activities of these gangs is going to be long and has to be waged relentlessly."

"But I am satisfied that the ability of the gardai to tackle the gangs head-on has been greatly improved by these measures."

The new legislation contains two major offences which will allow the gardai to bring criminal charges against the main gangland players of either directing the activities of a gang, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, and participating in or facilitating a criminal gang.

Both offences will be tried before the non-jury Special Criminal Court.

Although the number likely to be charged with either offence will be relatively small, they will be highly significant in terms of preventing serious crime such as murder and drug trafficking.

Most of the initial targets are those responsible for the activities of the gangs involved in feuds and drugs-related shootings in Dublin and Limerick.

In the coming weeks gardai will be finalising files for the Director of Public Prosecutions for the initial batch of cases.

"The legislative phase is over. Now its time to tackle the gang bosses head-on," a garda source said.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties criticised the new laws. In a statement it said it regretted that the statute book now included "yet another deeply flawed criminal justice law, which does nothing to improve life for the victims of gangland crime".

- Tom Brady, Barry Duggan and Dearbhail McDonald

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Missing Dublin pair may have been shot by known hitman

Irish Herald

By Cormac Looney
Thursday July 23 2009
GARDAI have identified a suspect for the double murder of two Dublin men who have been missing for a year.
Officers investigating the disappearance of David Lindsay and Alan Napper, who have not been seen since 23 July 2008, believe that a south Dublin hitman may have murdered both men in a house in Co Down.
The suspect is known to gardai and is said to have connections to a drug dealing gang in the south inner city, and to a number of criminals in west Dublin.
He is not affiliated to any one gang and has connections "across the spectrum", garda sources said.
The two men are believed to have fallen foul of a crime gang and were lured to their death, after meeting other men in Clane, Co Kildare, a year ago today.
Officers suspect an individual has who has a reputation in gangland circles as a gunman, and is suspected of carrying out at least one other gangland murder in the last two years.
But it is feared a lack of forensic evidence -- most notably the two men's bodies -- may hinder any prosecution in the case.
The men's blood was discovered in a property at Rathfriland, Co Down, in May.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), who are assisting the gardai in the case, believe the pair may have been buried in a field nearby, but no traces of their remains have been found.
However, gardai are satisfied that both men were murdered in the Co Down house.
A bogus passport seized at Dublin Airport last September led gardai to suspect for a time that the pair had fled Ireland for Thailand, but this was later ruled out.
The focus of the investigation switched last April to a remote property on the Drumdreenagh Road in Rathfriland, which was rented by a Co Down man to a man from the Republic. According to reports, he was considered a good tenant.
The homeowner, who is not suspected of having any involvement in the disappearances, moved back into the house and discovered bloodstains on a floor there in August, at which point the PSNI were notified.
Lindsay (38) and Napper (39) travelled to Clane, Co Kildare, where they were last seen, from Baldoyle, north Dublin, on July 23 last.

The parents of David Lindsay reported him missing to gardai on July 27 last year, while a brother of Alan Napper contacted the gardai. A major search operation, stretching across Dublin, Kildare and the border counties, was launched.
- Cormac Looney

Monday, 20 July 2009

Murdered gangster in Freddie machete attack

Irish Herald

By Cormac Looney
Monday July 20 2009
Murdered gangster Anthony Cannon was the chief suspect for a violent machete attack on the home of gang boss 'Fat' Freddie Thompson.
The 26-year-old reportedly threatened two of Thompson's relatives in the attack, demanding that the gang boss come out of the house and face him.
Gardai are now investigating any links between the attack last year and threats issued to Cannon over the past 12 months. The dead gangster was warned that his life was in danger on a number of occasions, it is understood.
Officers working on the murder case have compiled a dossier of over a dozen serious incidents that Cannon was involved in over the past 12 months, all related to the notorious Crumlin gang feud. The murdered gangster was a leading member of the gang opposed to Thompson's outfit in the feud.
He was a suspect for a shooting in Drimnagh three weeks ago, when a man was injured in the leg after being shot through a downstairs window at his home.
This man was suspected of involvement in the murder of Shay O'Byrne, a close pal of Cannon's, in Tallaght last March.
Gardai believe that the Drimnagh shooting three weeks ago may have been in retaliation to that murder.
However, senior sources said that finding a single motive for the shooting would be difficult, as Cannon was involved in widespread criminal activity. This included attacks that were related to the Crumlin feud, and other activity such as collecting drug debts and intimidation of drug users and other minor criminals.
Among the dossier of feud-related activity compiled by gardai is an incident on March 15 last year in which Thompson's home in the Coombe was attacked by Cannon and another man, who arrived at the scene armed with machetes and an iron bar.
The pair demanded entry to the house, but were refused and told Thompson was not home by the occupants, who barricaded the door. They then broke windows at the property with a machete before travelling to Bride Street, where they attacked the home of a Thompson associate, believing he was at that house. Windows were also broken at that property but no one was injured.
Gardai investigated the attack, but charges could not be brought due to lack of evidence.
Three months later, Cannon's name again emerged as a suspect for a shooting at the home of Freddie Thompson's grandfather, also in the Coombe. No one was injured in that attack.
Cannon was shot dead as he ran for his life at St Mary's Avenue, Ballyfermot last Friday afternoon. He was hit nine times by a gunman who fired 11 shots, having pulled up alongside him on a motorcycle. He incurred at least two fatal head wounds, and was wearing a bullet-proof vest when found.
His murder was the 17th gun killing of the year, and the 12th associated with the Crumlin gang feud.
- Cormac Looney

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Latest revenge murder linked to 'Fat' Freddie

Latest revenge murder linked to 'Fat' Freddie


Sunday July 19 2009

The latest Dublin gangland murder -- the 20th feud-related murder this year -- was carried out by members of the gang led by "Fat" Freddie Thompson in direct retaliation for a gun attack in Drimnagh in June in which a man escaped with a leg wound after shots were fired into his house. Thompson was on holiday in Spain last week.

Friday's victim, Anthony Cannon , 26, from Robert Street in the Liberties is "at least the 15th victim" of the so-called Crumlin-Drimnagh feud though the warring factions all originate from the south inner city area in the Kevin Street Garda District, according to garda sources.

The murder was followed yesterday morning at 4am by further gun attacks on two houses in Clondalkin. No one was injured but the occupants of both houses were said to have been traumatised. Gardai believe these shootings are not related to the south inner city feud.

Anthony Cannon was well-known to gardai, and believed to have been a leading figure in the gang engaged in the feud with Freddie Thompson's gang. He is suspected of shooting the Thompson associate in Drimnagh last month and also of having fired shots into Thompson's grandparent's home in the Coombe on June 24 last year.

In the attack in the Coombe, Cannon is believed to have been accompanied by Neill Fitzgerald, who was arrested in July last year after pointing a loaded pistol at detectives. Fitzgerald was arrested by detectives from Kevin Street Station and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment last May.

The shooting dead of Cannon in broad daylight at St Mary's Avenue, off Sarsfield Road, on Friday afternoon has increased the belief among gardai in Dublin that gangsters now believe they can kill with impunity. Women and children were in the area, and witnessed Cannon being struck by at least seven bullets, at least two of which struck him in the head. He had spotted the gunmen pursuing him on a motorcycle and was trying to climb over railings into Longmeadow Park when he was gunned down. The fact that he was wearing body armour failed to save him.

Of the 20 murders so far this year, charges have been brought in relation to two.

A large part of Dublin is now beset by gangland feuding and "turf" wars. The shootings in the early hours of yesterday are believed to be related to the break up of a once-powerful Clondalkin gang whose members have grown so big in the heroin trade that they have been logged in Pakistan buying heroin directly from suppliers linked to the Taliban and tribes in Afghanistan. Their former leader was jailed on a manslaughter charge two years ago and since then elements have broken away and are at war with each other.

The feuding in Flinglas and Blanchardstown is still continuing, though there have been no murders in relation to this for months. There is a feud between the leading drug gang in Cabra and gangs in the north inner city area. There is another feud between a gang which was formerly the local Provisional IRA unit in the north inner city which has claimed at least seven lives.

Other deaths have resulted from one of the city's biggest gangs attempting to push other dealers out of areas in the north of the city. And there are at least two feuds in the Coolock to Artane area which have claimed several lives.

Gardai in the city say they see no prospect of the violence subsiding or of them making much headway in the murder investigations. Overtime for investigating officers has been cut back substantially meaning that within the crucial first few days of the cases gardai are finding that they have to go home rather than concentrate on arresting the suspects.

In almost every case, gardai have good knowledge of who is responsible and in Friday's murder the name of the main suspect was known within less than an hour -- though his whereabouts were not known.


Latest gangland victim had forged alliance with Limerick don

Sunday Tribune

Mick McCaffrey, Security Editor
Shot: Anthony Cannon
Allegiance: Liam Keane
1 2 The latest gangland murder victim had forged allegiances with one of Limerick's criminal gangs and was arrested with notorious criminal Liam Keane for threatening to shoot two motorists for whistling at a woman.
Twenty-six-year-old Anthony Cannon was shot at 3.30pm on Friday at St Mary's Avenue West in Ballyfermot, Dublin, after he had spent the afternoon drinking in a local pub.
Cannon, who was wearing a bulletproof vest after being warned by gardaí that his life was in danger, ran down the road to escape his killer, who was on a motorbike.
Cannon, originally from Robert Street in Dublin 8, was a senior member of a Drimnagh/Crumlin-based drugs gang led by a man who is serving a lengthy jail sentence.
He had a number of criminal convictions for the possession and distribution of small amounts of drugs and criminal damage. He was suspended from driving for 10 years in 2008 for careless driving and giving a false name to gardaí. He was due in court next week on public-order and assault charges.
It is suspected that a rival gang led by criminal 'Fat' Freddie Thompson was behind Cannon's murder. His killing was the 15th direct or indirect murder as a result of a feud which has been ongoing since 2001.
On 21 April 2007, Cannon and Limerick criminal Liam Keane attended a birthday party at a pub in Crumlin, Dublin. At one point they stood outside with some women, smoking cigarettes.
Two men in their early 20s pulled up in a car across the road and began to whistle at the females. Cannon and Keane went to the car. The latter produced a Glock 9mm pistol, pointing it into the vehicle. Cannon said they were going to kill the two men.
One of the girls at the party ran across the road, telling the pair not to open fire and persuading them to go back into the pub. The two motorists apologised profusely and drove away.
Cannon and Keane were both arrested, but there was not enough evidence to charge either man and they were released without charge.
Cannon had forged allegiances with senior members of the Keane gang and the Dublin and Limerick outfits now cooperate on large-scale drug and firearms deals thanks to him.
On 26 May 2008, detectives from Crumlin garda station raided a house in Walkinstown and recovered €1m worth of heroin and €37,000 in cash. Three members of the same family were in the process of being arrested when Anthony Cannon, using a key, let himself into the house.
He was immediately detained. Gardaí believed that he was there to collect the drugs. He was charged under sections 3 and 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act but the charges were subsequently dropped because he was not in the house when gardaí first arrived.
Last month, a 26-year-old senior member of the Thompson gang was asleep on a couch in the front room of his house in Drimnagh when a gunman fired two shots from a car and sped off.
The man was shot in the leg despite the fact that he had paid €6,000 the previous week for reinforced glass. Anthony Cannon is widely believed to have been the gunman and Friday's murder is thought to have been in retaliation for that incident.
July 19, 2009

Dublin braced for more killing as feuds take a grotesque twist

Shootings and grenade attacks are common, but a defiled corpse marks a new low in gangland battles to control the drug trade
Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
The Observer, Sunday 19 July 2009
Dublin's gangland murder rate is now running at almost three killings per month, with the turf wars taking a ghoulish twist last week when a corpse was defaced by rivals who broke into a funeral parlour.
On Friday, Anthony Cannon became the 20th, and latest, victim of the feuds running between gangs in the city. He was targeted because he fired into the home of the grandparents of a well-known gangster, garda sources revealed this weekend. Gardai had recently warned him that his life was in danger. At the time of his murder, he was on bail awaiting assault charges.
Cannon was the 15th person murdered in the so-called "Crumlin-Drimnagh feud" between two rival gangs running the illicit drugs trade in Dublin's south inner city. Three other murders since the start of 2009 are connected to a separate feud between rival gangs in the north inner city and one killing involved a Dublin criminal murdered in southern Spain. Another murder is linked to an ongoing feud in the Cabra district of the city.
The current crop of the so-called "soldiers" involved with warring criminal factions in the city are wholly different from the initial wave of gangsters that first brought hard drugs into Ireland in the early 1980s. Unlike this previous generation of criminals, the present gangs not only control the drugs trade but are themselves habitual cocaine users, which the gardai believe has increased their propensity for using violence to settle scores with rivals.
Along with the penchant for cocaine, this new generation of gangsters is getting younger. During searches last week in north Dublin, garda detectives questioned a 15-year-old boy who had in his possession a high-powered automatic Glock pistol.
Cannon, 26, who had convictions for assault, drug possession and traffic offences, was shot in the head twice as he ran away from two men on a motorcycle in the Ballyfermot area of south Dublin on Friday afternoon. He was wearing a bulletproof vest and was gunned down in front of women and children.
His death was ordered by a notorious south Dublin criminal who spends a lot of time in his homes in southern Spain. At the time of the shooting he was understood to be staying on the Costa del Sol.
In the early hours of yesterday morning two houses in the Clondalkin area were raked with gunfire, although garda sources said the shootings were not linked to the "Crumlin-Drimnagh" feud. No one was injured in either attack.
Even before Cannon's murder, tensions in the city were running high following a bizarre incident involving the body of a gang member from north Dublin on Monday.
David Byrne's body was defaced with a pen while lying in the Jennings Funeral Home on Dublin's Amiens Street. The 26-year-old father-of-one had died from injuries he received at the start of June while inside Mountjoy prison. Byrne had been beaten with a sock stuffed with batteries after a row over a television remote control in the jail's recreation area.
Vandals broke into the funeral parlour and scrawled "Rats" and "I'm not gone" in red pen on the dead man's forehead. Byrne was buried on Tuesday at the Fingal cemetery in Co Dublin.
The incident is thought to be linked to the feud between a gang run by jailed Dublin criminal Christy Griffin and a rival group in the north inner city. It has resulted in the deaths of two men, as well as gun and grenade attacks on a number of homes in north Dublin since the beginning of this year.
Members of the Griffin gang have vowed revenge for the defilement of Byrne's corpse and at least one member of the rival group has been offered round-the-clock police protection since the funeral.
Out of the 20 Dublin gangland murders this year, charges have only been brought in relation to two men. At least three of the feuds are linked in some way to the control of the heroin and cocaine trade in the city. At least one gang is trying to call in drug debts in order to pay off Colombian gangsters following the loss of a huge shipment of cocaine off the Irish coast last year.
Gardai are on high alert this weekend as fears grow for retaliatory attacks following the death of Cannon. As with every gangland murder this year, garda detectives have good intelligence about who is responsible and in the Cannon case were aware of the main suspect's name within an hour of the shooting, although his whereabouts are unknown.
In response to one of the bloodiest years in Irish gangland violence the Fianna Fáil/Green Party government has introduced new legislation which would allow senior garda officers to tell courts that they believed certain suspects in court were members of crime gangs. It would then be up to judges and juries to decide whether or not to take the word of officers from the rank of superintendent upwards as evidence against these suspects. However more than 100 Irish criminal lawyers have said the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill contravenes the European Human Rights Act and would be challenged through the Irish and European courts.
Associations representing rank and file gardai meanwhile say proposed policing cuts as part of an overall €5.3bn (£4.5bn) cost-cutting public service programme will further emasculate the force in its fight against the crime gangs. Overtime for detectives has already been cut back while the murders and shootings across Dublin continue apace.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Killing takes gun death toll up to 17

Killing takes gun death toll up to 17
Latest gang victim was wearing a bullet-proof vest

By Tom Brady and Fiach Kelly

Saturday July 18 2009

A MAN shot dead on a suburban street yesterday was hit at least twice in the head after 11 shots were fired at him as he tried to flee.

The victim -- named last night as Anthony Cannon (26), originally from Robert Street in the south inner city Dublin -- had been wearing a bullet-proof vest.

The 12th victim of a bloody gangland feud, he was an associate of one of the gang leaders, who is currently in jail.

Cannon was gunned down near the junction of St Mary's Avenue West and Phoenix Street in Ballyfermot across the road from the Liffey Gaels GAA club at around 3.45pm.

His killer made his escape with an accomplice on a motorcycle.

This is the 17th gun murder so far this year, with 15 of them having taken place in Dublin.

Cannon was well known to gardai as a member of one of the feuding gangs but was not regarded as a major player in the Crumlin-Drimnagh warfare, which first erupted in 2000.

He had several criminal convictions, mostly for motoring offences, and was due to go on trial in the circuit court after being stopped while drink driving and in possession of a long knife, which had been concealed under a car seat.

In February last year he was given a six-month suspended sentence and disqualified from driving for 10 years after being found guilty of careless driving and giving a false name.


Cannon had also been fined for possession of cannabis resin in 2006 but had a charge of possession of ecstasy for sale or supply struck out in 2002.

He was also arrested for questioning in connection with another drugs seizure but was released without charge.

Intensive targeting of key gang figures and regular patrolling in the affected areas had resulted in a lull in the feuding. Shay O'Byrne, who was shot dead in front of his girlfriend and baby outside their Tallaght home last March, was the only victim in the past 31 months.

Gardai said last night that a man had been hit in the leg when shots were fired in through the window of his home in Drimnagh a few weeks ago and they were trying to establish if there was any connection between that incident and yesterday's murder.

Commissioner Fachtna Murphy, who was in Dunmanway in west Cork for the opening of a garda station, said last night he was appalled by the latest murder.

He said he had been briefed on the incident and pledged he would ensure that the funding available to him would be used to confront the challenge posed by the gangs.

"We have to face down these people who are committing terrible crimes. It has to stop and every effort will be made to bring those responsible to justice", he added.

Last night, gardai were looking for eyewitnesses, who might have witnessed the shooting or saw the gunman escape, in an area known locally as The Ranch.

They have established that Cannon was walking along the street and turned into a laneway leading to a football pitch used by the Liffey Gaels club.

There were also unconfirmed reports last night that Cannon may have been dropped off from a nearby car in the minutes before he was killed.


Cannon realised he was being followed and was attempting to climb a gate into the field when he was shot with a handgun.

Gardai said one of the bullets could have struck him while he lay on the ground.

The area was immediately sealed off for forensic examination by the garda technical bureau and cones were placed on the ground where bullet cartridges were found.

Cannon was pronounced dead at the scene by a doctor.

Superintendent John Quirke appealed to elderly residents in the area in particular to contact Ballyfermot garda station.

"What appears to have happened ... is that a male was chased up the road on foot where he appears to have been shot," Supt Quirke said.

"The deceased was confirmed dead at the scene. The state pathologist has now visited the scene and there will a post mortem tomorrow morning.

"Two men were seen leaving on a small motorcycle and we believe they left in the direction of Sarsfield Road.

"We would appeal for anyone who was in the Sarsfield Road area around the 3.30pm mark today to contact Ballyfermot garda station where the incident room has been set up."

Gardai say that the culprits may have been wearing helmets at the time of the attack. They have appealed to anybody with information to contact them at Ballyfermot station, on 01 6667200, or on the confidential line, 1800 666111.

- Tom Brady and Fiach Kelly

How old feud among friends became a bloodbath

How old feud among friends became a bloodbath

By Tom Brady Security Editor

Saturday July 18 2009

Nine years ago they were all friends and associates.

They grew up together as a gang and graduated from minor crime on the southside of Dublin to fix their focus on the highly lucrative drug trafficking trade.

But an incident in the autumn of 2000 resulted in a split that developed into street warfare between the two factions and became known as the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud.

The feud has so far claimed the lives of 11 young men -- Anthony Cannon will be the 12th if his murder yesterday is definitely linked -- while at least five other murder victims have been on the periphery of the gangs but their deaths were not directly attributable to the rows.

The gangsters split over who was responsible for tipping off the gardai about a drug shipment that had been smuggled into Dublin. The tip led to the garda seizure of a €1.5m haul of ecstasy and cocaine in a raid on the Holiday Inn in Pearse Street in the city centre in 2000.

Less than a year later the widening rift took its first victim, who was stabbed to death in Crumlin.

This was followed in July 2002 by the murder of Joseph Rattigan. He was shot with a handgun minutes after leaving his girlfriend's home.

The main suspect for the Rattigan shooting was Paddy Doyle, who was regarded by gardai as the enforcer for the rival gang leader. Doyle was shot dead in Spain last year but his death was not connected to the feud.

The arrest of a number of key players in the feud resulted in a lull in the warfare until February 2004 when Paul Warren (23) of St Teresa's Gardens, in the south inner city, was shot dead in a pub in Newmarket Square. This was a revenge shooting for the Rattigan murder.

Gardai suspect the 'hit' on Warren was carried out by John Roche, and in March 2005, Roche (25), from Clonmacnoise Road in Crumlin, was shot in the chest.

The feud escalated savagely in November of 2005 when three men were shot dead. The first two, Darren Geoghegan (26), from Lissadell Drive in Drimnagh, and Gavin Byrne (30), from Windmill Park, Crumlin, were lured to their death at Carrigwood in Firhouse.

Both men were shot in the head as they sat in their silver Lexus car and had apparently arranged to meet their killers.

The two victims had been members of the same gang as Paul Warren and Geoghegan had been the prime suspect for John Roche's murder. They were initially thought to have been killed by the rival faction, but gardai later formed the view that they had been murdered by their associates in an internal row.

Two days later, a brother of one of the previous victims was shot dead. Paddy Doyle was again suspected.

In August 2006 Wayne Zambra (21) was shot in the head as he sat in his parked car in Cameron Street, off Cork Street. He had been part of the gang that killed Paul Warren but could also have been a victim of an internal row.

The following month Gary Bryan (31), who was blamed for the murder of Warren, was shot dead in revenge.

The 10th victim, Eddie McCabe (21), was beaten to death in a laneway off Tyrconnell Road in Inchicore in December 2006.

And after a lull of almost 27 months, Shay O'Byrne became the 11th victim last March. He was shot in the back in front of his girlfriend and a baby outside their Tallaght home.

Peripheral victims of feud gang associates included Niall Hanlon, whose body was found in the grounds of Crumlin VEC six months after he had been reported missing, and David McCreevy, shot dead on his doorstep in Tallaght.

Armed gardai were back on red alert on the streets last July after foiling a gangland hit by confronting and arresting an armed suspect.

In September gardai feared the feud had claimed another victim when a man, who had acted as a driver for one of the gang leaders, was shot dead as he came out of a bookies office in Killester. But detectives later attributed the shooting to other motives.

- Tom Brady Security Editor

Freddie feud spirals out of control

Freddie feud spirals out of control

Saturday July 18 2009

TWO Dublin homes came under gun attack early today – hours after a known drug dealer was shot dead in broad daylight.

The murder of 26-year-old Anthony Cannon in Ballyfermot yesterday evening shattered a ceasefire within the feuding Crumlin-Drimnagh gangs which was brokered by two mothers and two priests before Christmas.

One of the gangs is led by notorious Freddie Thompson – victim Anthony Cannon was aligned to the rival gang.

Today shots were fired at two adjacent homes in the Clondalkin area in a separate incident.

The attack comes after the 12th murder in the Crumlin-Drimnagh gang feud since 2001, near the Liffey Gaels GAA club in Ballyfermot.

It was the 17th gun murder of the year – 15 of them committed in Dublin. Hours after President Mary McAleese referred proposed new “get tough” crime legislation to the Council of State for its condiseration, Anthony Cannon literally ran for his life.

But even his bullet-proof vest did not save him as Cannon was trapped by his

assassins who chased him down on a motor bike. He tried in vain to clamber over a fence into a park.

A total of 11 shots are understood to have been fired at him with two being pumped into his head from close range after he was brought down.

Children were playing in the vicinity as the gun gang pursued their victim.

Cannon was well known to the gardai as a drugs dealer and was close to one of the leaders of the feuding Southside gangs.

Speculation is mounting that he was shot in retaliation for a recent gun attack, in which a member of the rival Freddie Thompson outfit was wounded in the leg.

Thompson has moved overseas in recent weeks after new threats against his family. He is believed to be living in Spain.

Cannon, from Robert Street, was due to appear in the Circuit Criminal court this week in relation to driving offences and possession of a concealed weapon -- a knife.

In February last year he was given a six-month suspended sentence and banned from driving for 10 years after being found guilty of careless driving and giving a false name.

He had also been fined for possession of cannabis resin in 2006, but had a charge of possession of ecstasy for sale or supply struck out in 2002.

He was also arrested for questioning in connection with another drugs seizure but was released without charge.

His death was the second in the feud since two mothers, whose rival sons were murdered, brokered a truce before Christmas last.

Senior gardai were involved with two local priests from Crumlin and Drimnagh. They were aware that while the gangs would stop shooting each other, they would continue their criminal involvement.

Gardai insisted that the rule of law would apply and continued surveillance of them.

Shay O'Byrne was the first new victim when he was gunned down on March 12 at Tymon North in Tallaght. His partner was wounded when she tackled the gunman.

Commissioner Fachtna Murphy pledged that the funding available to him would be used to confront the gang challenge.

He said: "We have to face down these people who are committing terrible crimes. It has to stop and every effort will be made to bring those responsible to justice."

Gardai have appealed for eyewitnesses, who might have witnessed the shooting or the gunmen's escape.

Superintendent John Quirke appealed to elderly residents in the area in particular to contact Ballyfermot garda station.

"Two men were seen leaving on a small motorcycle and we believe they left in the direction of Sarsfield Road.

"We would appeal for anyone who was in the Sarsfield Road area around the 3.30pm mark today to contact Ballyfermot garda station where the incident room has been set up."

Anyone with information should contact Ballyfermot station, on 01 6667200, or on the confidential line, 1800 666111.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Feud fears deepen after boy is caught with bullets

Irish Herald

By Cormac Looney and Conor Feehan
Wednesday July 15 2009
A teenage boy has been caught carrying handgun ammunition in Dublin's north inner city -- amid fears of fresh violence in the Sheriff Street feud.
Gardai said the 15-year-old was stopped by armed officers on the Drumcondra Road last night, carrying a loaded magazine for a 9mm handgun.
The seizure was made hours after the burial of David Byrne, whose funeral has led to increased tensions in a long-running feud between two north inner city gangs -- led by jailed criminal Christy Griffin and a rival.
Byrne, who was affiliated with Griffin's rivals, had the word RATS written on his forehead as his body lay on open display at Jenning's Funeral Home on Amiens Street.
There was a heavy garda presence in the north inner city last night as officers stopped and searched a large number of people.
The arrested youth is from Sheriff Street and officers believe he was moving the ammunition for more senior criminals.
He remains in custody today as gardai seek to establish which gang asked the boy to move the ammunition.
The arrest was made a number of hours after David Byrne, from Mariner's Port, was buried.
His brother Stephen described the act as "cowardly" and said it was a deed perpetrated to get back at his family from a member of a gang in the area.
He said: "The gardai dealing with this told us they have never seen anything so depraved in their lives as what happened to David.
"My parents are in bits over this. It's disgusting," he told the Herald.
Byrne died after he was assaulted in C1 wing in Mount-joy Prison on June 9.
He was hit with a sock filled with batteries in an attack which was not believed to be linked to the feud, which has claimed three lives over the past three years.
There was no mention of the desecration of the body or the attack on his life at Byrne's funeral in St Laurence O'Toole Church on Seville Place yesterday.
A photograph on the coffin showed David holding his own son, David.
Fr Ivan Tonge told those gathered that losing somebody so young was hard for any family.
He said: "He will be fondly remembered by his parents, his brothers and sisters, and all who knew him"
Byrne's partner Brigid attended his removal service, but was not present at the funeral.
The remains were brought from the church as the Aslan song Crazy World played from the altar.
- Cormac Looney and Conor Feehan

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Editorial: A new low even for gangland

Irish Herald

Tuesday July 14 2009
IT is a new low, even for criminals who have shown they have no respect for the living. The defilement of the body of David Byrne, the prisoner who died after an assault in Mountjoy Jail, is truly shocking.
Someone wrote "rat" on his forehead as his grieving relatives prepared to bury him.
Even in the worst conflict situations, burying the dead with dignity is generally observed by all sides. It is a long-held tenet that the deceased are at least entitled to the burial rites a civilised society deems appropriate. In Ireland, that usually means a hallowed ritual which goes some way towards helping the bereaved cope with their loss.
The mind which is capable of interfering with a man's body lying in repose is almost beyond comprehension.
We have seen all too graphically in recent days that criminals and drug gangs are ready to kill innocents. Now it seems even the dead are not safe from their evil.

Gang deface body in funeral home
By Ian Mallon, Cormac Murphy and Conor Feehan
Tuesday July 14 2009
THE BODY of a man who died following a prison attack has been desecrated in a Dublin funeral home.
The word 'RATS' was scrawled on David Byrne's forehead in the shocking incident at the premises on Amiens Street.
Marker was also scrawled around both his eyes in the attack believed to be linked to a north inner city feud.
The feud – between members of the gang led by jailed criminal Christy Griffin and a group of rivals – has raged for three years and has led to the deaths of two men and grenade and gun attacks in the north inner city.
Mr Byrne has been linked to the gang opposing Griffin and is related to Gerard ‘Batt’ Byrne – gunned down in the feud in December 2006.
Officers are now investigating whether his death is connected to events on the outside in the north inner city. Mr Byrne (26), a father of one from Sheriff Street, died after being beaten over the head with a sock stuffed with batteries in Mountjoy Jail on June 9.
He had been on a life support machine in Beaumont Hospital since the day after the attack. His body was vandalised in Jennings Funeral Home yesterday, only hours before the removal to St Laurence O' Toole's Church in nearby Seville Place.
David Byrne’s family today confirmed that the desecration of their son and brother’s body had taken place while his remains were on display for mourners, and that the words ‘rats’ and ‘I’m not gone’ were written across his face.
“It was written on his forehead and across his face. It was a terrible thing,” said a tearful female family member. “It was written in red pen.” David Byrne’s brother, Stephen Byrne, described the act as “cowardly” and said it was a deed perpetrated to get back at his family by a member of a gang in the area.
“There are senior gardai dealing with this who told us they have never seen anything so depraved in their lives,” said Mr Byrne.
“They say there was no CCTV covering it, but there might be cameras across the road at other shops that might have spotted people going in and out,” he added.
“My parents are in bits over this. It’s disgusting what happened.” Local councillor Christy Burke (Ind) said he has never heard of a similar incident in his life before.
“It’s the lowest of the low,” he told the Herald today. A source at Jennings would only say “there was a bit of hassle” before the removal.
However, he stressed there was “no problem at all” with the removal itself and it “went off very well”.
Mr Byrne, a convicted car thief, was assaulted by a fellow prisoner following a row over a TV remote control, it is believed.
He was taken to hospital after the attack but discharged himself later that evening. However, the following morning, after staff were unable to wake him, he was rushed back to hospital.
His condition deteriorated and he died just over three weeks later. Mr Byrne is survived by his parents Margaret and Noelie, his brothers Jason, Stephen, Owen and Eamon and sisters Shauna and Tracy. He is also survived by son David and partner Brigid.
- Ian Mallon, Cormac Murphy and Conor Feehan