Rattigan's crime gang collapses as he starts jail
By Edel Kennedy
Wednesday December 23 2009
THE Crumlin gang involved in a feud which claimed the lives of 12 people has fallen apart as its members "go it alone".
Gang boss Brian Rattigan (28) was jailed last week after being found guilty of the murder of Declan Gavin (21) in August 2001. His death sparked the feud between him and former friend and gang member Freddie Thompson, which went on to claim at least 12 lives.
However, garda sources said last night that Rattigan's gang has broken up, with no "big player" stepping into his shoes.
"There are some associates there, but they're flimsy enough," said a garda who was involved in a seven-year probe that put Rattigan behind bars.
He said their information indicates that Thompson's gang is "a little stronger".
Things in Crumlin and Drimnagh -- where the two gangs were based -- are now said to be "reasonably quiet".
But gardai remain on a heightened state of alert and are conscious of the fact that Rattigan may order the killing of a rival -- or a member of the force -- from his prison cell.
However, gardai are helped by the fact that many of the remaining members of Rattigan's gang have split and moved from the Crumlin area. They became so well known to local gardai that their movements were hampered by officers.
"We are very aware of who is involved and we are carrying on searches all the time," said a garda source.
Many of the remaining criminals have proven that they are not loyal to their boss, Rattigan, and have even switched sides to work for Thompson.
"People tend to think of these people as being in a set gang but it's often not like that at all," the source said.
It's thought that Rattigan still has young criminals working for him as runners to keep his drug empire ticking over.
Gavin, who was the first fatality of the feud, was labelled a 'rat' before Rattigan stabbed him to death at a Abrakebabra fast-food outlet on the Crumlin Road on August 25, 2001.
The Central Criminal Court trial heard that a Nissan Micra pulled up at the outlet shortly after 3am. Mr Gavin approa-ched the car, and someone inside it shouted: "You rat."
A man wearing a balaclava and carrying a large knife got out of the car and approached Mr Gavin, pulled down his balaclava and asked: "Do you remember me?", before stabbing him in the chest.
The gang war, which is still simmering, stemmed from a row between former criminal associates over a drug seizure in a Dublin city centre hotel a year before Mr Gavin's death.
- Edel Kennedy