herald

Monday 20 November 2017

Fallout from a bloody year sees seven killings unsolved

death: Gardai continue hunt for gangs behind 2011 gun hits in capital

DETECTIVES in Dublin are starting the New Year with seven gun killings on their books.

In all nine gangland-related killings were carried out in the capital last year.

So far charges have been brought in two of these cases while the rest remain under active investigation.

No arrests have yet been made in three of the murders.

It was not until the afternoon of May 9 last year that the capital had its first gun killing since November 2010 -- and the victim was not even involved in organised crime.

Paul McCarthy (19) died after being shot in a house at Myra Close, Inchicore. Despite five arrests in the case, there have been no charges yet.

Sources believe Mr McCarthy died after he and his mates were playing with a loaded handgun.

A search of the area close to the crime scene yielded a loaded handgun which was used in the fatal shooting. Sources say Mr McCarthy, who comes from a decent family, was "an impressionable youngster who got sucked into a very bad crowd".

The next killing happened in Neilstown, west Dublin, just over a fortnight later when Dean Johnson (20) was blasted up to six times with a handgun as he sat in a car near his Moorefield Avenue home.

Mr Johnson, who was linked to a nightclub assault in the months before he was shot, was executed in a local dispute. The shooting -- which was carried out with a semi-automatic 9mm pistol -- took place outside the home of the victim's best friend. His friend's girlfriend was in the driver's seat of the red VW Golf and the two were waiting for the friend to come out when the gunman ran up.







Suspects

Two brothers have emerged as the chief suspects and it is understood that they fled Dublin to a caravan park in Co Wexford after the killing.

The two brothers -- aged 36 and 26 -- were arrested by gardai investigating the murder, along with three others on suspicion of withholding information. It is understood that gardai are confident of securing charges in this case.

It was in nearby Clondalkin that the third gun killing in the capital happened when Continuity IRA criminal Liam Kenny (53) was shot dead at his home in Shancastle Avenue.

Gardai believe that Mr Kenny was killed as part of a bitter internal feud between dissident terrorists that has led to at least one other murder and a number of failed assassination attempts. The first gun murder to occur in north Dublin in 2011 was that of Michael Taylor (53), who died in Beaumont Hospital on June 6, a day after he was shot at a Donabate.

Mr Taylor was murdered as part of a bitter north inner city feud which has been raging since 2006. There have been no arrests in that case. In November, his son Michael Taylor Jnr (31) was found guilty of the feud-related murder of Paul Kelly (26) in Clontarf, Dublin, in 2007. Gardai believe Mr Taylor Snr was shot in revenge for his son's crimes.

Just days after this conviction, gardai launched a major operation against the gang in their stronghold of Summerhill, in the north inner city.

A week after Mr Taylor was murdered, Edward Flanagan (49) from Coolock, died of gunshot wounds in an apartment at Larch Hill, Santry. A person is before the courts in relation to that crime. The next gun slaying happened on the other side of the River Liffey on June 25 when Darren Cogan (19) was shot dead when a gunman burst into the Black Horse Inn, Inchicore.

When the gunman finished firing at Mr Cogan and his friend -- who was injured but survived -- the killer walked outside and fired shots at the pub.

Gardai are probing whether a notorious Dublin criminal, who is the chief suspect for the sick abduction and murder of 19-year-old Romanian girl Mariora Rostas, may also have been involved in shooting Mr Cogan in a case of mistaken identity.

In October, gardai recovered the gun used in his murder in woodland in north Cork.







Gunfire

The Cogan suspect was also arrested later in the year for conspiring to murder a journalist and a senior detective. Ten weeks later the capital saw the next gun murder.

The Finglas gang which was once controlled by slain crimelord by Eamon 'The Don' Dunne are the chief suspects for the slaying of dad-of-three Tom McDonagh (49), who died in a hail of gunfire outside his caravan in Ballymun.

It's believed Mr McDonagh was targeted over a drugs debt.

So far three people have been arrested and 10 properties have been searched as part of the murder investigation that has focused on criminals from Ballymun and Finglas.

Perhaps the most significant gang murder of the year happened in broad daylight on October 15 when the gang boss Michael 'Mica' Kelly, nicknamed 'The Panda', died in a hail of bullets fired from an AK47 outside apartments in Clongriffin, north Dublin.

Gardai believe that Mr Kelly (30) -- who had been a target of gardai for years -- was murdered by a Real IRA hit squad.

Mr Kelly -- who made a fortune from drug dealing -- is understood to have a major property portfolio, including homes in Dubai and Spain.

He had spent most of his last year living in Spain but had returned to his home patch after his girlfriend gave birth to a baby boy -- the thug's third child.

It is understood that he was visiting this child when Mr Kelly was blasted to death. There have been no arrests in 'The Panda' murder investigation.

In November, gardai suspect the same Real IRA extortion gang firebomed the home the slain gang boss's right-hand man Paul 'Burger' Walsh.

The final gun murder of 2011 in Dublin happened on November 28 when David Darcy (39) was shot dead outside his home in Ballyfermot. A woman has been charged in relation to this murder.

kfoy@herald.ie

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