Dunne was murdered by members of his own gang
Ireland's most prolific gangland killer, Eamonn Dunne, was set up by his own gang and may have been killed in an effort to stave off further attacks by other gangs, including one major British-based gang of travellers, it now appears.
Gardai have yet to establish who carried out the killing, which they said was one of the most professional assassinations ever carried out here. The timing and precision of the killing and the fact that the gunmen didn't burn out the getaway car has also given rise to the belief that they wore sealed clothing -- like the anti-contamination suits crime scene officers wear -- and weren't too worried about leaving DNA traces.
The gardai are also aware that retaliation was planned by associates both here and in Britain of Tommie and John Paul Joyce, who were among the estimated 17 or 18 victims of Dunne and his gang over the past seven years.
Tommie Joyce, 20, was shot dead in Coolock in Dublin in June last year. A previous attempt had been made on his life, again by Dunne, four years previously. At the time Joyce, though only 16, had built up an extensive drugs network in the northern suburbs of Dublin. The frozen body of his brother, John Paul, 30, was found in a ditch beside Dublin Airport in January this year. He had been abducted and murdered by Dunne and his gang.
The Joyce family issued a statement after Dunne's murder that said they had nothing to do with it and expressed sympathy to his family. Gardai do not believe the Joyce family was involved. It is thought more likely that associates of the Joyce brothers were responsible. The two had links to another large drug supply network run by other traveller families in England. Their links, one garda source said, were "very heavy".
They also believe that Dunne's gang had grown weary of him and, according to a garda source, there was no doubt that the information fed to the gunmen came from his associates. It was pointed out that if his gang had not conspired in the murder there would have been clear signs of them plotting or carrying out revenge attacks by now.
The man believed to have assumed control of Dunne's drugs network is a former member of the republican terror group the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). Several former INLA members were in Dunne's gang. The new leader, a north Dubliner in his 30s, was directly involved in several of the murders carried out by the gang. After the republican and loyalist ceasefire, many republicans in Dublin moved directly into the drugs and "ordinary" crimes businesses of robbery and extortion.
One of the reasons for the violence in the gang scene last year was that the bottom fell out of the cocaine market with the drop in the economy and the arrival of "head shop" drugs. With the Government's proscription of head shop drugs gardai now expect an upturn in the crime gangs' business and this may, in turn, lead to further instability.