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Saturday 21 October 2017

A word to the wise, Martin ... you're getting far too old for this carry on

Martin Foley
Martin Foley

I SEE my old nemesis The Viper is back in the news.

I honestly thought that Martin Foley (64) had hung up his boots and was enjoying retirement. After all, he will be collecting his pension and bus pass next year.

But no. Foley was arrested last week at a jewellery store in the Ilac Centre. True to form, he had to be wrestled to the ground before being handcuffed.

I first met Foley 40 years ago when I was a young garda in Dublin serving in the Crime Task Force. I arrested him and his accomplice one night in Merrion Square after a fierce struggle.

I was armed with a baton and he had a golf putter, which he used to smash all the windows of my patrol car. I was lucky my head didn't get in the way.

That was the first but certainly not my last encounter with him.

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Over the next 20 years he ran with The General's gang. He was one of Martin Cahill's closest friends and was his right-hand man in some of the General's most audacious capers.

Over the years The Viper has amassed more than 40 convictions and gained a reputation among the criminal fraternity as a ruthless and dangerous man. This is a reputation well deserved.

Along the way he's survived no less than four assassination attempts, and bears the scars of a number of bullet wounds on his body.

I remember after one attempt on his life by the IRA doing protection duty at his bedside in the Adelaide Hospital.

You could say that over the years we got to know each other well.

So here's some advice, Martin, from me to you - quit while you're still ahead. Ride off into the sunset while you can.

Most of your buddies didn't make old bones - it's time for you at last to give up your auld sins.

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