herald

Monday 10 December 2018

'Flashy' enforcer caged for fatal golf club attack will be freed in months

Paul Brannigan was sentenced to two years and 10 months. Photo: Collins Courts
Paul Brannigan was sentenced to two years and 10 months. Photo: Collins Courts

One of the main protagonists in the brutal Finglas feud and the right-hand man of notorious drug dealer Mr Flashy has been jailed for a golf club assault on a 21-year-old man who later died.

Paul 'Branno' Brannigan, formerly of Ratoath Drive, Finglas, was sentenced yesterday to two years and 10 months in prison.

He will be back on the streets within months after being given credit for 22 months already spent behind bars and because of standard prison remission.

In July, Brannigan (27) pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and two charges of assault causing harm to Jason 'Jay' Saunders at Fassaugh Avenue, Cabra, on March 18, 2014.

The Herald can reveal that Brannigan, who has been serving his time on the C wing of Mountjoy Prison, has been far from a model prisoner.

Disciplined

Just over a month ago, he was disciplined after being caught with a mobile phone charger and a shiv - a sharp, improvised knife.

Six months before that, Brannigan was busted with a mobile phone as well as a prohibited article, and in April he was also disciplined for fighting.

After a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, a jury convicted him of one charge of assault by striking the victim with a golf club.

The jury acquitted him of the other assault, arising from Brannigan head-butting Mr Saunders, which Brannigan said he did in self-defence.

It was unable to reach a verdict on the manslaughter charge, and yesterday it emerged that the DPP would not be seeking a third trial on that charge.

The assault took place after a St Patrick's Day house party during which, the court heard, alcohol and drugs including ecstasy were being consumed.

Judge Martina Baxter said that during the trial a local shopkeeper described seeing Brannigan head-butting Mr Saunders and then aggressively swinging a golf club at him.

One witness saw Mr Saunders staggering and then coll- apsing on the street.

Emergency services arrived at the scene, but he died on the roadside, metres from his home.

The trial heard that he told gardai he was "fuelled up with drink and coke" at the time.

Gardai believe bully boy Brannigan played a central role in the Finglas feud which, remarkably, did not lead to any murders, mainly because he and many of the other protagonists were locked up after a brawl at The Cardiff Inn, Cardiffsbridge Road, Finglas, on October 19 last year.

His current jail sentence is directly linked to his role in that incident, in which one of his associates arrived at the pub with a baseball bat that was taken off him.

Brannigan was one of a group who instigated the violence at the bar, but the rival mob, led by David 'SOS' Mulvey, got the better of Brannigan's crew.

Bitter

The incident inflamed the bitter Finglas feud, which Brannigan's associate Mr Flashy is at the centre of.

Several firearms have been recovered, while one man has been shot and another escaped with his life after gunmen burst into his home when he was out.

The feud has died down in recent months, with no major incidents reported.

Meanwhile, Mr Saunders' heartbroken mother Geraldine told yesterday's court hearing that she had "lost everything".

The mother-of-five said she would never forget the morning of her son's death, and she was constantly playing it back in her head.

"Every time I open my hall door, I see Jason lying there," she said.

She added that she felt she lost everything when she buried her son, who she described as "bubbly" and full of laughter.

She said she now finds it hard to leave her home and interact with the world.

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