Row over drugs tip-off turned crime associates into enemies
By Tom Brady Security Editor
Friday December 18 2009
NINE years ago, they were all friends and criminal associates. They grew up together as a gang and graduated from minor crime on the southside of Dublin to 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. This became known as the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud.
The feud has so far claimed the lives of 12 young men, while at least five other murder victims have been on the periphery of the gangs but their deaths were not directly attributable to the gang rows.
The gangsters split over who was responsible for tipping off gardai about a drugs shipment that had been smuggled into Dublin. The tip led to the seizure of a €1.5m haul of ecstasy and cocaine in a raid on the Holiday Inn in Pearse Street in the city centre.
Less than a year later, Declan Gavin became the first victim. This was followed in July 2002 by the murder of Joseph Rattigan, Brian's brother. 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.
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, Crumlin, was shot in the chest as he left his car in Kilmainham.
The feud escalated savagely in November 2005. Darren Geoghegan (26), from Lissadell Drive, Drimnagh, and Gavin Byrne (30), from Windmill Park, Crumlin, were lured to their death at Carrigwood in Firhouse. The two victims had been members of the same gang as Paul Warren and Geoghegan had been the prime suspect for Roche's murder.
They were initially thought to have been killed by the rival faction but gardai later formed the view they had been murdered by associates.
Two days later, Noel Roche, John's brother, was shot dead in the passenger seat of a car in Clontarf. Doyle was also suspected of being involved in that case and, last July, Craig White (23) was jailed for life for his part in the crime.
In August 2006, Wayne Zambra (21) was shot in the head as he sat in his 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 Warren's murder, was shot dead in revenge. He had just been released from jail and was killed on Bunting Road, Dublin. The 10th victim, Eddie McCabe (21), was beaten to death in a laneway off Tyrconnell Road, Inchicore, in December 2006. He was not closely aligned to the feuding gangs but was believed to have been present when Zambra was killed.
And after a lull of almost 27 months, Shay O'Byrne (27) became the 11th victim in March. He was shot in front of his girlfriend and a baby outside their Tallaght home.
In July, Anthony Cannon (26) was gunned down near a GAA club in Ballyfermot because he was the prime suspect for another shooting five weeks earlier.
- Tom Brady Security Editor