Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Ageing godfather who taught The Don how to be a gang boss

Irish Herald
Ageing godfather who taught The Don how to be a gang boss

By Cormac Byrne

Wednesday August 18 2010

HE was the mentor for one of Ireland's most notorious crime bosses, Eamonn 'The Don' Dunne, and one of Ireland's first cocaine smugglers.

And the 61-year-old Godfather has been active in Dublin's criminal underworld for decades and has served a serious sentence for drug trafficking.

He remains a man of means and is believed to have funded drug deals carried out by the Don's notorious Finglas drug gang which was once headed by Martin 'Marlo' Hyland in recent years.

Hyland and Dunne were both assassinated in gangland killings in 2006 and April this year respectively.


The Godfather, from the Northside of Dublin, met Dunne regularly in the years up to his death in pubs and restaurants across Dublin.

Both criminals shared an interest in armed robberies and the drugs trade with the older man proving a mentor to the up-and-coming Don in these areas. And just like his pal Dunne, the man was once a leading member of a major drug trafficking operation operating on Dublin's northside.

"Both men had a mutual respect for each other and he would have acted as tutor for Dunne," a source said. "He would know every major figure on Dublin's northside."

The popular and clever gangland figure is believed to have curried favour with most of Dublin's major crime gangs. Despite his popularity, gardai have told him that a credible threat had been made against his life by a Dublin crime gang.

The criminal has been advised to re-examine his personal security.

The father-of-nine cut his teeth as a robber working with the Official IRA in the 1980s. Despite never swearing an oath to the paramilitary group, he worked with the shadowy Group B unit.

The group specialised in armed robberies of cash and drink deliveries, and was behind some of the biggest bank heists of the decade. He and his associates took a cut of the profits.

In 1988, he was jailed for three years for an assault on a member of the Worker's Party outside a club near the party's headquarters in Gardiner Place, Dublin.

The jury acquitted him of two more serious charges of maliciously wounding Pat Quearney and causing him grievous bodily harm.

Two years earlier, the man had been convicted of both these charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison, but this was overturned on appeal.

During the trial, a detective sergeant told the court that in the seven years he had known the man, he had been associating with hardened and dangerous Dublin criminals.

He also has convictions for offences including shop-breaking, house-breaking and breach of the peace.


In the early 90s, he became one of Ireland's first criminals to be jailed for bringing a major consignment of cocaine into the country.

In May 1993, he was sentenced to 14 years behind bars after he was caught with 997.3 grams of cocaine worth an estimated €500,000.

During the trial in 1993, the court heard how he and two of his associates organised for the payment of the drugs through a third party in the US.

Despite his advancing years, the man who mentored The Don has maintained contact with a number of figures in the criminal underworld.

- Cormac Byrne

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