By Cormac Byrne
Friday August 20 2010
THIS is the garda's public enemy number one -- the new leader of The Don's west Dublin gang.
The 41-year-old criminal now heads a list of gangsters being targeted for prosecution under anti-gang laws.
The man is also in the firing line from rival gangsters, and a death threat was made against him a fortnight after his boss was murdered, the Herald can reveal.
Officers are currently awaiting a decision on whether to charge the man with controlling a criminal outfit.
The criminal, who lives in Co Meath, was Eamonn Dunne's closest confidante and has stabilised Dunne's gang in the wake of his murder last April.
Despite being threatened by rival criminals in early May, the man has since consolidated control of the gang.
The criminal cannot be identified at this point for legal reasons, but he is expected to be brought before the courts in the coming months.
The new gang boss was previously arrested in March 2007 by gardai investigating the murder of Marlo Hyland three months earlier. Dunne is suspected of murdering Hyland to gain control of Hyland's gang.
The man used a private company to launder drugs cash with Dunne, it is suspected.
Rival north Dublin criminals demanded cash from him after Dunne's murder, and the man was officially notified by gardai of a serious threat to his life in mid-May, it is understood.
But officers have also turned their attention to the gang's new leader under new anti-gang legislation.
Officers from the Organised Crime Unit (OCU) submitted a file to the DPP on the Don's gang prior to Christmas and have continued to probe his Finglas-based drug operation after his assassination.
The file has updated since Dunne (34), who was believed to have been linked to 17 gangland murders, was assassinated at Faussbagh House in Cabra on April 23 by four men.
The gang's new leader is the chief target in the file.
According to sources he is known to gardai as a particularly violent character.
The man was involved in a murder case in the past where the gardai said that the witnesses had been intimidated before their appearance in court.
The file on the man's Finglas gang contains extensive details of the activities of key operatives, including drug trafficking, armed robbery, illegal debt collections, extortion, threats and intimidation.
A security source told the Herald: "This individual is squarely in our sights. A large amount of information has been amassed and it's currently being considered by the DPP."
Files have been prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on a dozen criminal gangs since the anti-gang legislation was introduced last summer.
Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy recently said that he was pleased with the crackdown gardai had made in the past 12 months on organised crime.
He also said last week that good progress was being made in the four gangland murders that were carried out in the capital over the past month.
Two of the files submitted to the DPP have resulted in prosecutions being brought and those cases were currently before the courts.
The legislation also had the knock-on affect of forcing dangerous criminals such as Fat Freddie Thompson into exile out of fear of imprisonment.
The files stem from a massive review by gardai of criminal files, which began last summer while the new legislation was being piloted through the Oireachtas and a list of around 80 top criminals was discussed at a crime summit at the Garda College in Templemore.
Under the law, brought in a year ago, a gang boss can be jailed for life, if convicted of a charge of directing the activities of a criminal outfit.
- Cormac Byrne