Four gangsters questioned over murder of Dublin criminal
FOUR men remained in custody last night as detectives questioned them about the gangland slaying of a criminal who was shot 10 times with a pistol as he sat in a car.
The suspects were arrested by armed officers following significant progress in their inquiries into the murder of Aidan Byrne in Dublin's north inner city last February.
The four are alleged to be members of a major north city gang responsible for a number of fatal shootings and robberies, including the tiger kidnap that led to a €7m heist from the Bank of Ireland at St Stephen's Green.
With addresses in the north inner city, three are aged in their 20s and one is in his 30s.
They are being held at the Bridewell, Pearse Street, Store Street and Mountjoy Garda stations under section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allows officers to detain them without charge for up to a week.
One of those in custody is the alleged leader of the gang while another has been questioned previously about the bank heist.
They were all being asked about their alleged roles in the murder of Byrne as he sat in the front passenger seat of a grey Toyota Corolla at Drumalee Avenue, off the North Circular Road. The driver of the car got out and went into a nearby house. The gunman had been lying in wait and when he spotted Byrne on his own, he opened fire, hitting his victim repeatedly in the upper body.
Byrne had been wearing a bullet-proof vest since his release from Cloverhill prison two weeks earlier after he was granted bail on a theft charge.
But he left his vest at home that night after he agreed to meet an unknown associate who had contacted him to discuss a business deal.
Gardai had warned Byrne several times that he was under threat from other criminals. He survived an attempt on his life at Fairview Park in the north city last year.
He was also slashed in the face while in prison earlier this year, for which he received 60 stitches, although that attack was thought to have been connected to a previous five-year sentence for the rape of two prostitutes in a brothel.
Undeterred by the threats, Byrne had agreed to act as a gun for hire on behalf of major gang bosses. But although he had agreed to carry out several shootings for money, gardai had no convincing evidence that he had ever followed through.
Persistent underworld tip-offs led to the Garda warnings that Byrne had a price on his head, and officers advised him to take security precautions.