herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Suspected IRA man gunned down in attack by dissidents

ASSASSINATION: Gardai link RIRA to murder as victim's gang ties investigated

A SUSPECTED IRA man shot dead in a targeted hit may have been murdered by dissident Republicans.

Gardai are investigating possible dissident links to the murder of Seamus McMahon (42), an alleged Provo shot dead in Dundalk, Co Louth, last night.

If confirmed, the murder would be the first gun killing carried out by dissidents in the Republic. Security sources told the Herald: “Dissident involvement is one of the motives being examined, it cannot be ruled out at this point.”

“McMahon was a suspected IRA man and we're looking at his recent activities to find out who and why he was targeted. There are reports that he may have had contact with Continuity IRA in the recent past and this is something we’re investigating.”

The dead man, who was a dad, was gunned down at a friend’s house in Dundalk at 7pm yesterday. The Real IRA has a powerbase in north Louth and members there are believed to be involved in operations in Co Down, specifically ongoing security alerts in the Newry area.

The shooting came less than 24 hours after PSNI officers were shot at on a railway line at Newry -- an attack believed to have been carried out by the Real IRA.

McMahon was a suspected member of the Provisional IRA, who had been tried in the Special Criminal Court in 2002 on charges of IRA membership, but was not convicted.

The attack happened at 7pm in the Saltdown Area of Dundalk when two men burst into a house and opened fire on the man. Mr McMahon, who lived in the Ashbrook area of the town, had been visiting a friend there.

ESCAPE

The two men burst into the house and ran upstairs to find Mr McMahon before opening fire. The gunmen made their escape on foot before leaping over a wall and fleeing in a white Toyota hatchback.

Gardai are seeking assistance in tracking the movements of the car and its occupants.

A garda spokesperson told the Herald this morning that they had not recovered the car and appealed to anyone who knows of its whereabouts to come forward.

Mr McMahon had been visiting a woman in the house. He was shot in his side, and suffered a heart attack in an ambulance on the way to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, where he was later pronounced dead. The deceased was known to gardai and was acquitted of a charge of membership of the IRA at the Special Criminal Court in November 2006.

A postmortem was due to be be carried out by the State Pathologist this morning at the Louth County Hospital in Dundalk.

The victim was not a suspect for any major crimes, gardai said.

But officers believe that in the past couple of years he had been associating with members of the Continuity IRA and also with some local criminal factions in the town.

The crime scene was sealed off yesterday, pending a full forensic examination this morning by members of the garda technical bureau this morning.

He appeared before the Special Criminal Court in November 2006 on a charge of being a member of the IRA on October 7, 2004.

After a seven-day trial Mr Justice Paul Butler said the court could not be satisfied of his guilt beyond reasonable doubt and Mr McMahon was set free.

McMahon's killing comes just a month after Real IRA member Ciaran Doherty was murdered in a planned hit by the Real IRA in Co Derry.

The Real IRA claimed responsibility stating that "we executed him because he was involved with a criminal organisation with links to the drugs trade and was profiteering. He knew the risks involved in what he was doing."

hnews@herald.ie

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