Saturday 20 December 2014

How old feud among friends became a bloodbath

Tom Brady Security Editor

Published 18/07/2009 | 00:00

Nine years ago they were all friends and associates.

They grew up together as a gang and graduated from minor crime on the southside of Dublin to fix their focus on the highly lucrative drug trafficking trade.

But an incident in the autumn of 2000 resulted in a split that developed into street warfare between the two factions and became known as the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud.

The feud has so far claimed the lives of 11 young men -- Anthony Cannon will be the 12th if his murder yesterday is definitely linked -- while at least five other murder victims have been on the periphery of the gangs but their deaths were not directly attributable to the rows.

The gangsters split over who was responsible for tipping off the gardai about a drug shipment that had been smuggled into Dublin. The tip led to the garda seizure of a €1.5m haul of ecstasy and cocaine in a raid on the Holiday Inn in Pearse Street in the city centre in 2000.

Less than a year later the widening rift took its first victim, who was stabbed to death in Crumlin.

This was followed in July 2002 by the murder of Joseph Rattigan. He was shot with a handgun minutes after leaving his girlfriend's home.

The main suspect for the Rattigan shooting was Paddy Doyle, who was regarded by gardai as the enforcer for the rival gang leader. Doyle was shot dead in Spain last year but his death was not connected to the feud.

The arrest of a number of key players in the feud resulted in a lull in the warfare until February 2004 when Paul Warren (23) of St Teresa's Gardens, in the south inner city, was shot dead in a pub in Newmarket Square. This was a revenge shooting for the Rattigan murder.

Gardai suspect the 'hit' on Warren was carried out by John Roche, and in March 2005, Roche (25), from Clonmacnoise Road in Crumlin, was shot in the chest.

The feud escalated savagely in November of 2005 when three men were shot dead. The first two, Darren Geoghegan (26), from Lissadell Drive in Drimnagh, and Gavin Byrne (30), from Windmill Park, Crumlin, were lured to their death at Carrigwood in Firhouse.

Both men were shot in the head as they sat in their silver Lexus car and had apparently arranged to meet their killers.

The two victims had been members of the same gang as Paul Warren and Geoghegan had been the prime suspect for John Roche's murder. They were initially thought to have been killed by the rival faction, but gardai later formed the view that they had been murdered by their associates in an internal row.

Two days later, a brother of one of the previous victims was shot dead. Paddy Doyle was again suspected.

In August 2006 Wayne Zambra (21) was shot in the head as he sat in his parked car in Cameron Street, off Cork Street. He had been part of the gang that killed Paul Warren but could also have been a victim of an internal row.

The following month Gary Bryan (31), who was blamed for the murder of Warren, was shot dead in revenge.

The 10th victim, Eddie McCabe (21), was beaten to death in a laneway off Tyrconnell Road in Inchicore in December 2006.

And after a lull of almost 27 months, Shay O'Byrne became the 11th victim last March. He was shot in the back in front of his girlfriend and a baby outside their Tallaght home.

Peripheral victims of feud gang associates included Niall Hanlon, whose body was found in the grounds of Crumlin VEC six months after he had been reported missing, and David McCreevy, shot dead on his doorstep in Tallaght.

Armed gardai were back on red alert on the streets last July after foiling a gangland hit by confronting and arresting an armed suspect.

In September gardai feared the feud had claimed another victim when a man, who had acted as a driver for one of the gang leaders, was shot dead as he came out of a bookies office in Killester. But detectives later attributed the shooting to other motives.

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