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Saturday 19 October 2019

Crime boss 'Dee Dee' could face site extortion racket charges

The site off Cherry Orchard Avenue in Dublin
The site off Cherry Orchard Avenue in Dublin
Derek 'Dee Dee' O'Driscoll

Gardai are investigating if a Dublin mobster should face criminal charges over an extortion campaign in which council staff and contractors were targeted in a spate of violent attacks and acts of intimidation.

Two council officials, who were quizzed by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) about money being paid over to the mobsters, may be re-interviewed as part of the "parallel criminal investigation" into the extortion racket.

Seized

The Herald also understands a nationwide probe is now under way to determine if similar acts of extortion have been carried out at other sites following the high-profile case involving west Dublin criminals and the city council.

This week, more than €250,000 was seized from Derek 'Dee Dee' O'Driscoll (46) and his associate David Reilly (36) as part of a CAB probe.

The High Court heard how O'Driscoll was providing "security" at a council site following a spate of anti-social incidents targeting workers and their equipment.

This, however, was a targeted campaign by local thugs orchestrated by Reilly and O'Driscoll who were paid almost €3,000 a week after bringing an end to the violence.

Garda headquarters has confirmed that it is carrying out a criminal probe into the incidents of intimidation and extortion separate to the CAB probe which focused mainly on the criminals' ill-gotten gains.

Local detectives will attempt to establish if O'Driscoll and Reilly should face criminal charges into the incidents at Orchard Lawns, Ballyfermot, where 72 houses were being built.

The campaign of intimidation included:

- A stolen car being crashed into fencing and set alight, before responding gardai were targeted.

- In 2016, a contractor had a brick smashed over his head while a JCB was set alight as it was being used.

- In December 2016, the Herald reported how an innocent worker was lucky not to suffer serious burn injuries after a thug threw a lit carton of petrol into a digger on the site.

A garda spokesman said "certain matters identified in the evidence proffered by CAB was referred to An Garda Siochana during the CAB investigation and, along with local incidents, are subject to an ongoing parallel criminal investigation".

"As this matter remains before the High Court and subject to a separate criminal investigation, An Garda Siochana will not make any further comment on this matter."

While O'Driscoll and Reilly claimed that they were paid legitimately for providing a fence-protecting service, the CAB said they accumulated the money through an extortion racket.

A receiver will be appointed later this month after the High Court accepted the CAB's evidence.

Thugs

This week, after shocking details emerged in court, a notice was issued to garda chief superintendents nationwide to establish if similar extortion campaigns have been waged by other crime gangs.

The prime target of the CAB case, O'Driscoll is considered a major criminal who leads a gang of loyal thugs from his native Cherry Orchard.

He first appeared on the garda radar as a member of the M50 burglary gang in the 1990s before later leading a violent drugs mob.

O'Driscoll was also jailed for violent disorder over his role in the infamous 2010 'Ballyfermot Bloodbath' outside Hennigans pub in which UK national Jason Lee Martin died following a massive brawl between rival gangs.

His associate, Reilly, is considered a mob enforcer. In May 2010 he was subjected to a violent assault by the crime brothers Kenneth and Paul Corbally.

The siblings would be shot dead just months later, with the double murder leading to a spate of gang killings.

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

At a council meeting a month later senior gardai said they were aware of "rumours" surrounding criminals being used as security on sites but that no criminal complaint had been made.

A high-ranking officer, who has since retired, told the meeting that as far as he was aware the local authority made the decision about security at the site.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said the matter would be treated very seriously by the Government after details emerged in the CAB case.

In 2015, the site at Cherry Orchard Lawns was disposed of to Co-operative Housing Ireland.

The State-funded charity declined to comment when contacted by the Herald.

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