herald

Friday 20 July 2018

Hitman held for triple shooting

A CONTRACT killer was today arrested for a triple shooting in the capital.

The suspect, aged in his early 30s, was taken to Clontarf Garda Station after being picked up in Ballyfermot by armed detectives this morning.

Officers described him as a major hitman – who is very closely associated with gangland’s biggest serial killer Eric ‘Lucky' Wilson.

Wilson, also from Ballyfermot, is serving a life sentence in Spain and is linked to up to 10 gang murders here.

The extremely violent suspect detained today is wanted for a triple shooting outside the Players Lounge in Fairview in July last year.

The suspect, sources said today, survived a gun attack in Ballyfermot earlier this year and the man is considered one of the capital's most dangerous criminals.

Sources say that he was hired by a shadowy veteran crimelord from the Ballyfermot area to target senior Real IRA men at the Players Lounge pub – understood to have been inside the pub but instead shot the wrong men.

The shooting at the pub was linked to a feud between the Real IRA and the Ballyfermot crime lord that went on to claim two lives before an uneasy truce was organised.

Innocent doorman Wayne Barrett (32) survived the gun attack despite having a bullet lodged in his brain. As well as shooting the doorman, two innocent customers standing outside were also shot in the incident. Austin Purcell (24), from Marino, was shot in the chest.

His friend, Brian Masterson (30), was shot in the back. Both have also recovered from their injuries.



Mother

Speaking as her son fought for her life last summer, Wayne Barrett's mother, Mary McNeill, spoke of how her son had come out of a coma a month after being shot.

Ms McNeill described the night she received news that her son had been shot.

“I just ran (to the hospital). When I heard where the bullet was I thought sweetheart, Jesus.

“He (the doctor) had said he'd been shot in the head. The bullet was still there and there were a couple of other gunshot wounds to the body,” she said.

The gunman approached the pub at the junction of Fairview Strand and Philipsburgh Avenue on foot shortly before 12.30am on July 26 last year.

He fired up to six shots during the attack.

Wearing a balaclava and dark clothing, the gunman opened fired before he reached the pub, injuring the three men.

A burned-out red Volkswagen Golf, which was discovered burnt out in Verschoyle Court, off Mount Street, in the south inner city was believed to have been used in the attack.



Serious

Sources say that the arrested man has been also arrested for other serious criminal offences and was once considered “a trusted worker” for the Ballyfermot crime lord but has not been used by him in recent times.

Since the shooting at the Players Lounge, the pub has been the focus of a major garda raid and was gutted in a fire earlier this summer.

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