herald

Monday 11 December 2017

GAA star's brother among four held in Panda gun murder

THE brother of a star inter-county Gaelic footballer is one of four men still being questioned today about the gangland murder of Michael 'Micka' Kelly and Real IRA activity in north Dublin.

This man is not suspected of direct involvement in the machine gun murder last September of the major drugs trafficker who was nicknamed 'The Panda' by the media.

However, two of the other arrested men -- aged in their early 20s -- are suspected of direct involvement.

Both suspects are considered to be key members of a Real IRA faction -- based in Donaghmede -- who were trying to extort money from Kelly and his drug dealing gang.

Weapons

One of the suspects -- a 22-year-old man who was involved in protests against Queen Elizabeth's visit to Dublin last May -- is well known to gardai and has a conviction for possession of weapons.

The other suspect -- who is older -- is understood to live in the Clongriffin area and that is where he was picked up yesterday morning.

It is understood that the arrests happened after a gun used in the murder was recovered by detectives who now hope to obtain DNA evidence to press charges in the case.

Yesterday morning's four arrests were the first in the investigation into what was considered the most significant gangland murder of last year.

The Real IRA, led by two notorious brothers, had been at war with The Panda's crew for months after Kelly refused to pay them extortion money.

Originally from Swans Nest Road, Kilbarrack, Kelly was very paranoid about his movements and knew that his life was under threat because of his involvement in a string of other gangland murders in the last five years.

A major target for gardai for years, the High Court gave the Criminal Assets Bureau permission in December, 2010, to seize a house and two cars which were owned by Kelly.

Since the murder of Kelly, the Real IRA faction have continued their extortion war with drug dealers.

Last November, the dissident mob were suspected of fireboming the home of the right hand man of the slain gang boss.

Damage was caused to the the rear of the property at Foxhill Green, north Dublin, which is owned by major drug dealer Paul 'Burger' Walsh.

Walsh (31) was based in Spain and the house was unoccupied at the time of the arson attack.

Last month, the Herald revealed that a separate Coolock gang are in a major dispute with the Real IRA faction because of a savage assault outside a north Dublin nightclub over the Christmas period.

A Donaghmede man, who is closely linked to the gang of RIRA brothers from the same area, was left with serious injuries after getting in a fight with a senior drugs trafficker outside the well known club.

kfoy@herald.ie

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