herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Man shot dead in car park slaying linked to drugs gang

Gardai and an ambulance at the scene of the shooting of criminal Darren Kearns outside Cumiskey's pub (Photo: Justin Farrelly)
Gardai and an ambulance at the scene of the shooting of criminal Darren Kearns outside Cumiskey's pub (Photo: Justin Farrelly)
Darren Kearns

A man who was gunned down in the car park of a Dublin pub had only recently been released from prison.

Darren Kearns suffered fatal head injuries when he was shot several times outside Cumiskey's Pub on Blackhorse Avenue.

Gardai are investigating if the gangland murder is linked to his involvement in the drugs trade.

Sources said last night that detectives had been investigating Kearns' connection with a notorious Cabra-based gang that previously had close links to murdered mob boss Eamon 'The Don' Dunne.

Gunshots

Kearns, aged in his 30s, was recently released from jail after serving a six-year sentence for drug offences.

It is believed he had intended to get a meal in the Rising Phoenix Chinese restaurant above the pub when the shooting happened shortly after 5.30pm.

Customers arriving at the restaurant heard gunshots.

"We heard seven or eight shots as we arrived but we didn't see anything and thought it was just fireworks going off," said Colm McNamara.

Mr McNamara (34) and Jennifer Fahy (29) were bringing a young child with them to have a meal at the restaurant.

"There were a lot of shots, but because we thought it was fireworks we went and began our meal at the restaurant," said Mr McNamara.

"It was only when we went outside that we saw all the guards in the car park."

Ms Fahy added that "no one inside the restaurant seemed to realise what happened".

The pub and restaurant were closed as gardai began an investigation.

"Nothing like this has ever happened here," said a female employee of the pub. "It's a quiet family pub and children would often be brought for a meal. It's really shocking."

Kearns is from nearby Ashington in Cabra. His parents, Philip and Frances, who are in their 50s, are said to be devastated and were being comforted last night by friends and relatives.

Gardai said a burnt out car was located in a laneway off Regal Park on Blackhorse Avenue.

Kearns was jailed in March 2012 for the possession of cannabis herb with a street value of €1.76m in August 2010.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard he was spending €1,000 a day on cocaine at the time of the offence, had built up a debt of €180,000 and was abducted and tortured by the gang to whom he owed money.

He told gardai he had been forced to transport the drugs to Newry to reduce his drugs debt.

Judge Martin Nolan said Kearns was a mature man who "built up a large debt and is the author of his own misfortunes".

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