Saturday 3 December 2016

Doorman fights for life after pub shot up like 'wild west'

Tom Brady and Michael McHale

Published 27/07/2010 | 05:00

A doorman was critically ill in hospital last night after the latest gun attack in Dublin.

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This was the fifth shooting in the capital in the past month -- resulting in four men being killed and five injured.

Gardai were last night working on the theory that doorman Wayne Barrett (31) was targeted because of a simmering row between dissident republicans and a north-city crime gang.

Mr Barrett, from Ratoath Road, Finglas, was shot in the head when his attacker opened fire with two handguns as he ran across the road towards the pub where his victim was on duty at 12.30am yesterday.

Two pub customers, who were standing near the doorway of The Players Lounge in Fairview at the time, were also hit in the barrage of bullets.

One of the customers, Austin Purcell (24), from Marino, was seriously ill in the Mater Hospital last night, while his friend, Brian Masterson, from East Wall, was also injured but was discharged from hospital yesterday afternoon.

The Players Lounge is owned by John Stokes, father of Irish soccer star, Anthony Stokes.

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Mr Stokes said last night he was out of the country and did not know of the reasons behind the attack. He knew the two customers, who had been shot as regulars at the pub.

Brian Masterson's father last night described how his son was an innocent bystander when he was hit three times while leaving his "local".

Barry Masterson told the Irish Independent that his son had been hit in the side, back and lower chest but had miraculously escaped any life-threatening injuries.

Speaking from the family home, Mr Masterson told how one other bullet just missed him during the shooting.

"Brian was out for a few drinks. That's his usual pub -- he'd go there regularly on a Sunday night. He would be friends with Austin Purcell", he added.

Yesterday afternoon, gardai called to Brian's home to interview him about the shooting.

Detectives were also examining CCTV footage of the incident. And forensic experts from the Garda Technical Bureau were examining the remnants of a burnt-out gold-coloured VW Golf car, which detectives believe was used by the gunman and his accomplice in their getaway.

The shooting took place around 12.30am at the pub, which is on the corner of Fairview Strand and Philipsburgh Avenue.

Mr Barrett was outside the front door of the premises and four or five customers were chatting nearby when the gunman ran across the road.

Dressed in a balaclava and dark clothing, the gunman opened fired with two handguns before he reached the pub.

His target was apparently Mr Barrett, who was shot in the head and slumped to the ground immediately. But the gunman continued firing and the two customers were also hit in the shooting spree. "It was like something out of the wild west," a witness said.

The gunman, described by gardai as around 5ft 8in tall, then ran down Philipsburgh Avenue and jumped into the Golf car, which was driven away by an accomplice.

The car had been fitted with false number plates, 05 D 57078.

It was found 15 minutes later at Verschoyle Court, an apartment complex at Stephen's Avenue, off Mount Street on the south side of the city. It had been burnt out.

Gardai were examining the theory that Mr Barrett may have known a group of dissident republican sympathisers, who were involved in some security work at pubs in the north city, and had been targeted as a result by a criminal gang, who had been feuding with them.

Officers said there had been tension in the past between the republican sympathisers and the criminals.

But detectives were also examining Mr Barrett's recent past to determine if he had clashed with locals, who had been refused entry to the pub because of their previous behaviour.

Gardai have appealed to anyone who was near the pub shortly after midnight or spotted the gold Golf between Fairview and Verschoyle Court to contact them at Clontarf (01 666 4800) or on the Garda confidential line, 1800 666111.

Last night Mr Barrett was in a critical condition at Beaumont hospital.

Irish Independent

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