Dissident quizzed over murder of criminal
10 suspects arrested hours after cold-blooded shooting
Published 14/09/2010 | 05:00
A prominent dissident republican was being questioned last night by gardai investigating the murder of a Dublin criminal.
The victim was named yesterday as Sean Winters, in his late 30s, with an address at the The Links, Station Road, Portmarnock, Co Dublin.
The dissident was one of 10 suspects -- seven men and three women -- arrested by armed officers within hours of the shooting.
The suspects include four members of the same family, a father, two sons and a daughter.
The 30-year-old dissident has close links with the Real IRA and has served prison sentences for offences arising from his involvement in the illegal organisation.
Apart from his dissident connections, gardai believe he is also associating with gangland criminals and is involved in the security industry.
Last night, detectives were trying to establish if the shooting of Winters was connected to a row between two groups trying to carve out a share of the profits from supplying security services to pubs and clubs around Dublin.
Some of those involved in the business are also suspected of taking part in an extortion racket.
Last July, innocent doorman Wayne Barrett (31) was critically injured after he became caught up in a row between rival groups of dissident republicans and a north city crime gang.
Mr Barrett was shot in the head when his attacker opened fire with two handguns while running across the road towards The Players Lounge in Fairview, where the victim was on duty. Two innocent customers were also injured.
Gardai said last night they did not believe the two shooting incidents were linked. But they were examining the possibility that members of one gang could have been responsible for organising the two attacks.
Winters was shot a couple of times at Station Road -- close to his home -- at around 10.20pm on Sunday.
A post-mortem was carried out yesterday by the deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis, which confirmed that he had been shot twice in the back of the head.
A number of shells found near the body were taken away for ballistic examination by members of the garda technical bureau.
Last night officers were investigating whether he had arranged to meet his killer.
The gunman made his escape in a silver Volkswagen Passat car, with an 98 OY registration plate. It was found burnt out half an hour later at Temple View Close in Coolock.
The shooting took place on the footpath at one of the gated entrances to The Links and a few hundred yards from Portmarnock DART station.
Shortly afterwards, a doctor arrived and pronounced the victim dead and gardai began the grim task of identification.
Within hours, officers were following a certain line of inquiry and arrested six of the suspects in a house at Clarehall.
The four others were detained when gardai intercepted a suspect car.
All 10 were being held last night at various garda stations around north Dublin under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act. This allows gardai to detain them without charge for up to three days.
The suspects range in age from 56 years to 24 years.
One of the officers leading the hunt for the killer, Superintendent Mark Curran, appealed to anyone who was in the Station Road area of Portmarnock or the Temple View Close area of Coolock between 10pm and 11pm on Sunday to contact the incident room at Swords station on 01 6664710 or the confidential line, 1800 666111.
He said he was particularly anxious to hear from pedestrians or those travelling in a car who might have noticed some unusual activity in either of those areas.
Gardai from the Dublin north division are being backed up by detectives from the national bureau of criminal investigation and the Special Branch in the investigation.
Fine Gael justice spokesman Alan Shatter said last night that the swift action taken by the gardai in arresting 10 people, following the cold-blooded assassination, was to be commended. But the depressing reality, he added, was that the chances of somebody being convicted for the crime were slim.
Local Fianna Fail TD Darragh O'Brien said the shooting was a premeditated attack. He said the murder was another example of why tough anti-gang legislation and strong garda action were necessary.