Gardai fear gang boss Guinea Pig is back in the city
GANGSTER Mark 'Guinea Pig' Desmond is believed to be back in Dublin.
The 38-year-old thug has reportedly returned for the first time since he was linked with the disappearance of Islandbridge man James Kenny McDonagh (28) last October.
Gardai have received reports that feared gangland figure Desmond is hiding out in a safe-house in Dublin's northside after returning from the UK.
The return of the so-called 'Guinea Pig', originally from Ballyfermot, is likely to place Dublin's underworld in a heightened state of tension and gardai are checking if accounts that he is back are true.
Little has been heard of him since the abduction and murder of low level criminal Mr Kenny McDonagh last October and sources believe Desmond has been in Manchester.
He is notorious in Dublin's underworld and is suspected of murdering two men before dumping their bodies in the Grand Canal in 2000.
A huge garda investigation is still being carried out in this case which was sparked after underworld touts told gardai that Desmond had been boasting that he buried the 28-year-old alive at a remote location.
A major line of enquiry is whether Mr Kenny McDonagh was targeted in retaliation for an attack on Desmond in the Memorial Park in Ballyfermot last year.
Desmond managed to escape from his attackers on a quad when they approached him in the park in April 2010.
The Guinea Pig is notorious in Dublin's underworld and was the only man to have been charged in the notorious 2000 'canal murders' investigation.
The two victims in the drug-related canal murders were shot and their bodies dumped in the Grand Canal at Karneystown, Co Kildare, between December 19, 1999, and January 10, 2000.
One of these men, Darren Carey, was a neighbour of Mr Kenny McDonagh.
The murder charges were dropped by the DPP and the Court of Criminal Appeal later overturned Desmond's conviction and eight-year sentence on a charge of unlawful possession of firearms with intent to endanger life.
Sources say that Desmond was furious when he was linked in media reports in February to the murder of Clondalkin man Damien Dowdall (22) who was shot dead in 2007.
Gardai are satisfied that Desmond was not involved in that murder which was carried out by another local gang.
The incident in which Desmond was shot at in Memorial Park was not the first time that he has been a target.
In July 2006, Desmond and one of his associates were shot at in Tallaght by senior members of crimelord King Ratt's gang over a drugs dispute.
Desmond and his associate were at traffic lights at the junction of Old Bawn Road and Seskinview Road, Tallaght, when a motorcycle carrying two men pulled up alongside. The pillion passenger opened fire at the vehicle. Desmond was shot in the arm and his associate was hit in the buttock.
One of the suspected gunmen was gangland figure Anthony Cannon who was shot dead in Ballyfermot three years later. Considered one of Ireland's most dangerous and volatile criminals, Desmond also has links to a Ballyfermot IRA boss who is in Spain.