herald

Sunday 13 October 2019

Feud hood branded a 'rat' as claim to gardai leaked by gang rivals

An associate of paralysed Owen Maguire has been branded a ‘rat’
An associate of paralysed Owen Maguire has been branded a ‘rat’

Tensions have increased in the bitter Drogheda feud after a statement of complaint made to gardai by a close associate of paralysed mob boss Owen Maguire was leaked on to social media by his feuding enemies.

The two-page statement made by Maguire's close pal cannot be outlined for legal reasons but it concerns a serious allegation he made against the leader of the rival faction in the feud.

It is understood the 24-year-old rival gangster was "legitimately" able to obtain the statement, which concerns an alleged violent incident that happened last summer in the aftermath of Maguire being shot by the rival mob.

Informer

The Herald can reveal that the official statement of complaint is now being distributed online via social media apps.

There is absolutely no suggestion the information was leaked by gardai, who are continuing to carry out regular armed patrols in the troubled town.

"This has led to Maguire's close associate being branded as a 'rat' and a garda informer because he turned to gardai for help after that incident last year," a source said last night.

"The anti-Maguire faction are having loads of fun with it because it makes their rival look very weak and they are saying he ran to the gardai for help.

"This alleged victim is certainly no angel and he has already amassed relatively minor feud-related convictions and would be very close to Owen Maguire and Brendan Maguire - two men who have already been shot by the rival faction.

"This feud has been relatively calm in the last week or so but what is happening on social media now is sure to stoke it up again.

"To be accused of being a rat in the criminal fraternity is a serious enough matter and this feud can blow up at any time again."

The attempted murder of Owen Maguire, who was left paralysed after being shot numerous times outside his Drogheda home last July, inflamed the feud and led to multiple arson, bomb and gun attacks, as well as serious assaults.

His older brother Brendan (40) was also seriously injured in a drive-by shooting at the M1 Retail Park on the outskirts of the Co Louth town in February.

There has been no murder so far in the feud but sources say that it is "almost unprecedented" for a gang to use social media to post an official criminal complaint made by the rival faction so that he can be branded a garda informer.

Last week, a 23-year-old criminal, who is considered one of the main protagonists in the feud, walked free from court after being cleared of two armed robbery charges.

The suspect, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is considered the right-hand man of the 24-year-old at the centre of the social media intimidation.

Hatred

His close pal survived a botched assassination attempt last month in Drogheda in which he suffered superficial wounds to his chin and shoulder.

This happened less than a month after he was the target of a shooting in Donaghmede, north Dublin.

While the criminal who walked free last week is on bail for separate charges and currently living in Drogheda, his older pal has been based in Dublin in recent times because of the threat to his life.

Sources said the criminal has been "driving a lot of the hatred" in the feud and is suspected of being the man recorded goading and abusing Owen Maguire.

In the phone call shared on social media, Owen Maguire, who is confined to a wheelchair, is ridiculed about being left paralysed, with the rival mobster goading him by asking: "Do you want to go for a walk and sort this out?"

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