A hardliner at just five years old, Rose became besotted by terror boss after rising through ranks
IT was a "premeditated, calculated and cold-blooded murder" of an innocent man. Yet Rose Lynch remains proud of her actions.
The female assassin confessed to gardai that she had "emptied a handgun" during the murder of David Darcy.
Her guilty plea has spared his family a lengthy trial but they are left wondering what possessed a 50-year-old woman to kill a father-of-two going about his daily routine.
Today, the Herald can reveal how the mother-of-four joined Fianna Eireann aged five, rose through republican ranks as a young woman and went on to form an intense romantic relationship with a criminal classified by gardai as one of the leaders of the Continuity IRA.
Senior sources say that detectives are trying to secure other charges in their detailed murder investigation. They are probing whether Limerick woman Lynch's lover Dermot Gannon (48) had any involvement in it.
"Lynch was totally besotted with Gannon. They were in a relationship for a considerable amount of time before the murder," a senior source said.
"She got to know him because Gannon spent a lot of time in Limerick and he knew her father, Joe 'Tiny' Lynch, very well. She fell for him completely – she was absolutely besotted."
As she sentenced Lynch to life in prison yesterday, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne noted that Lynch has not offered "any single expression of remorse".
She had boasted to gardai that she was a "true volunteer" of the IRA and was "on active service when we murdered David Darcy".
The court was told how Mr Darcy was "wholly blameless". Ms Justice Dunne said it was "crystal clear" he was an ordinary man going about his business.
Lynch grew up in a republican household in Ballinacurra Weston in Limerick city. Her father Joe (72) is the head of one faction of Republican Sinn Fein.
Speaking after his daughter pleaded guilty, he said he was the "proudest man". He added: "She is a very strong woman and she brings her strength from her commitment to the republican movement."
In recent years Rose has been involved with Dermot Gannon. He was also arrested by detectives investigating the David Darcy murder but was later released without charge.
Gannon, of Wellview Crescent, Mulhuddart, west Dublin, was jailed for seven years last July after he was caught transporting a gun in Limerick less than two months after David Darcy was shot dead by the Continuity IRA.
The Special Criminal Court formally recorded a plea of not guilty on Gannon's behalf after he declined to enter a plea.
After an uncontested trial that lasted half an hour, Judge Paul Butler said there was "no doubt" of Gannon's guilt.
The Special Criminal Court heard that Gannon was separated from his wife and had 10 previous convictions, including a number for violent behaviour.
The court heard from Sergeant Arthur Ryan, who found the Webley revolver in a brown envelope under the passenger seat of Gannon's Ford Mondeo after stopping and searching it on a routine patrol.
Sgt Ryan told prosecutor Mr Garnet Orange that when he asked Gannon "what the story was" with the gun, the defendant replied: "I own it, it's mine."
He said when a note of this conversation was later read to Gannon in interview, the accused confirmed its accuracy.
Gannon was the the first person to be convicted of membership of an illegal organisation under the 1998 Offences Against the State Act – legislation that was enacted in the aftermath of the Omagh bombing.
He was sentenced to four years at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin in May 2001. As he was led from the dock, Gannon gave a clenched-fist salute and shouted: "Up Oglaigh na hEireann, you w***ers!"
Evidence was given in the case that gardai believed Gannon was the leader of a Continuity IRA unit in Dublin in charge of gathering and storing weapons.
His lover, Rose Lynch, repeated her refrain "tiocfaidh ar la" as she was led away from the dock by prison officers.
The woman, who has studied for a degree in applied social studies and psychology, also received concurrent sentences totalling 31 years after she pleaded guilty to IRA membership and the possession of firearms and ammunition.
Yesterday we revealed she was on her way to kill another innocent man, Ballyfermot boxer Ian Tims (33), when she was intercepted by armed officers a fortnight after she murdered Mr Darcy.
Garda investigations have established the Continuity IRA had plotted to kill six people as part of a "twisted show of strength" and Lynch was enlisted to carry out all the murders.