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Thursday 19 October 2017

Man arrested as part of cold case investigation into 1987 double murder, released without charge

Thomas 'Ta' Power
Thomas 'Ta' Power

Catherine Devine and Cathal McMahon

A man who was arrested this morning as part of a cold case investigation into a double murder in 1987, has been released without charge.

The man was arrested in the Dublin area and had been detained at Drogheda Garda Station under the provisions of Section 30 – Offences Against the State Act 1939.

Belfast natives Thomas 'Ta' Power and John Gerard O’Reilly were gunned down as they sat in the lounge of the Rossnaree, Hotel in Drogheda, Co Louth in January 1987.

The two men who died were members of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) and the shooting is thought to have been related to an internal feud.

In March gardaí launched a fresh appeal for information about the double murder. The case was also featured on Crimecall.

Thomas, John and two other men arrived at the Rosnaree Hotel at approximately 4.30pm. The four were travelling in a maroon coloured Ford Capri saloon car. They entered the bar area of the hotel and ordered sandwiches and bottles of orange, according to gardaí.

At approximately 5.15pm three men drove into the car park of the hotel in a brown Toyota Cressida, registration number 273CZD.

Two of the men entered the hotel, one of the men looked into the dining room but it was closed. The two men approached the bar, they pulled nylon stockings over their faces and entered the bar.

Once inside they produced firearms and began firing in the direction of Thomas and the three men. A number of shots were fired. The four men attempted to escape. The two gunmen fled from the hotel to the awaiting Toyota.

O’Reilly was pronounced dead at the scene while Power was taken to hospital and was pronounced dead a short time later. The other two men were seriously injured.

Power's sisters made an emotional appeal for information in relation to the murder of their brother on Crimecall.

One of the gunmen was described as being in his late 30s with black hair and a strong black beard with a thin face. He wore a green knee length mackintosh coat with a felt type hat. The second gunman is described as late thirties, clean shaven and taller than the first man, he wore a long coat and a hat.

The Toyota Cressida, used in the double hit, was recovered burnt out at a wooded area in Summerhil, Co Meath the following evening at 9.30pm, 31 miles away from the scene of the shooting.

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