herald

Sunday 19 November 2017

The Don's pal loses court fight after claiming garda hid threats to his life

A CLOSE friend of murdered crime boss Eamon 'The Don' Dunne has claimed that he had no involvement in crime during a High Court Hearing.

O'Reilly (42) who narrowly escaped death in a pub gun attack in August, 2010, failed in a court bid to get an inquiry ordered into an alleged garda policy not to warn some people suspected of criminal behaviour their lives may be in danger.

The Ballymun native, who now lives Bettystown, Co Meath, was regularly spotted in The Don's company before Dunne was shot dead in a Cabra pub in April, 2010.

Our photo shows O'Reilly sitting with Dunne and their pal Mark Buckley from Cabra at a boxing fight in December, 2009.

The three friends are sharing a joke but less than five months later O' Reilly and Buckley would be carrying The Don's coffin at the gangster's high profile funeral.

In fact, O' Reilly has been spotted at a number of funerals of criminal associates of his since. In May he was spotted at the funeral of the dad of Derek McLoughlin (47) - who was also one of The Don's closest mates. In December, McLoughlin admitted violent disorder and assaulting a detective in 2010. He is to be sentenced next March.

O'Reilly's most serious brush with the law was in 2000 when he received a suspended sentence for violent disorder in relation to a feud in Ballymun in which his brother Eamonn was shot dead in 1998.

The chief suspect for carrying out this murder -- David Thomas --was shot dead by The Don's gang in October, 2009, in Finglas.

Yesterday in the High Court O' Reilly, who was shot twice in his local pub in August 2010, claimed misinformation supplied to the media by servants or agents of the garda led to media allegations he had taken control of a drugs and crime organisation following Dunne's death. He had not been before a court for some ten years and any belief he was involved in criminality was "unsustainable", he said.

The purpose of the alleged campaign against him was, he alleged, to ensure he would be shot. He claimed gardai knew of a threat to his life but, he believed, deliberately tried to conceal that information, thus exposing him to a risk of injury or death.

Mr Justice John Hedigan ruled yesterday a complaint to the Garda Ombudsman Commission, not judicial review, was the appropriate procedure for Mr O'Reilly to follow to address his concerns.

He granted an application by the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner to strike out an order granting Mr O'Reilly leave to seek judicial review.

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