herald

Wednesday 29 January 2020

Council worker (61) quizzed by gardai in site 'extortion' probe

Derek ‘Dee Dee’ O’Driscoll
Derek ‘Dee Dee’ O’Driscoll

A senior employee of Dublin City Council has been arrested by gardai amid a long-running probe into an extortion campaign in which council workers and contractors were targeted in a spate of violent crimes.

The 61-year-old man, who works in the council's housing department, was questioned for a number of hours at Clondalkin Garda Station on Thursday before being released without charge.

In October, more than €250,000 was seized from Derek 'Dee Dee' O'Driscoll (43) and his associate David Reilly (36) as part of a Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) probe.

The council employee was arrested at his home and questioned by gardai on Thursday before being released.

The staff member has yet to return to work and it remains unclear if the council intends to take any action.

A source at the council said "no decision" had been taken on the employee's working status.

The source also said several staff had given statements to gardai in relation to the payments exposed by the CAB investigation into 'Dee Dee' O'Driscoll.

A Government-ordered investigation into the payments is continuing but there is still uncertainty over whether it can continue in parallel with the gardai inquiry.

The garda extortion investigation by detectives from the capital's west division has been running parallel with the CAB probe.

Gardai announced details of the arrest yesterday and they appealed "for any person who is subject to or has knowledge of any form of intimidation/extortion to report the matter, so that it can be fully investigated".

The 61-year-old man who was arrested this week along with a now-retired council official was previously quizzed by CAB in relation to money being paid over to the mobsters but not arrested on that occasion.

Enforcer

The High Court previously heard that O'Driscoll, of Croftwood Grove, Ballyfermot, and his "enforcer" David Reilly, of nearby Croftwood Park, charged firms building houses for the city council €1,200 to €1,500 a week to protect sites from vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

Neither Reilly or O'Driscoll have yet been arrested but they are expected to be.

The Herald first revealed in September 2016 how O'Driscoll's mob was hired to carry out protection at the sites.

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