National murder toll drops by 25pc
THE number of gangland killings fell last year as the total murder toll plummeted by more than a quarter.
Figures for 2011 show there were 39 murders committed last year, compared with 53 for 2010. This breaks down into 15 in the Dublin metropolitan region, 11 in the south, six in the west, three in the north and two each in the east and south-east regions.
Four of the killings are officially categorised as "organised crime" -- three in Dublin and one in Cork -- while two others have been blamed on dissidents.
Firearms were used in 14 of the murders, with handguns involved in nine, shotguns in four and one rifle shooting.
The rest of the deaths involved either knives or physical violence.
The first person to suffer a violent death in 2011 was Mohammed Arif, a Pakistani national, stabbed to death with a knife in an apartment in Drogheda, Co Louth, on January 6.
Three other incidents were officially labelled as manslaughters.
The two dissident victims were Michael 'Mica' Kelly, and David Darcy, shot dead in Ballyfermot, west Dublin, last month.
Mica Kelly was murdered by the Real IRA, which was demanding a slice of his profits from crime.
He was shot dead after visiting his baby son and the infant's mother in an apartment in Clongriffin on Dublin's northside.
Other gun deaths included father-of-four Liam Kenny, who was shot four times as he tried to prevent a gang breaking into his house in Clondalkin in west Dublin in June.
He was a prominent member of the Continuity IRA, but his murder is believed to have been connected to an ongoing row with a drugs gang.
On June 15, Edward Flanagan, from Primrose Grove, Coolock, Dublin 17, was shot twice in the head with an automatic pistol in an apartment.
Ten days later, Darren Cogan (22), of Bluebell Avenue, was shot dead in the Black Horse Inn in Inchicore.
Gardai are following two main lines of investigation and believe he was either a victim of mistaken identity or had become caught up in a row between two women.
One of the most high-profile murders of the year was that of GAA player James Hughes. He was killed as he sat in a taxi with a female friend in Dundalk.
Shane Rogers, who confessed to the shooting shortly afterwards, later took his own life in a holding cell the week before Christmas.
The final violent death of 2011 was construction worker Gerard Delaney who died in a melee outside the Manhattan pub in Ballyphenane, Cork, on St Stephen's Day.
He was beaten and fatally stabbed outside the pub after a brawl between members of two feuding families. Mr Delaney (51) will be buried today amid tight security.