Profile: Eamon Kelly had links to all the major drugs gangs in Dublin
TODAY’S brutal assassination of Eamon Kelly was not the first time an attempt was made on his life at his home in Killester.
The 65-year-old cheated death two years ago when a lone gunman forced his way into the house but the gun he was carrying jammed and the attacker fled the scene.
Kelly was uninjured in that incident, but he refused to co-operate with a subsequent garda investigation into the attack.
The incident took place shortly after one of his protégés – the feared crime boss Eamon Dunne (33) – was shot dead as he attended a birthday party in a pub in Cabra in April 2010.
Now the garda investigation into Kelly’s death is likely to initially focus on a possible link to a bloody dispute with the Real IRA in north Dublin.
The Real IRA was linked in some quarters to the attempt on Kelly’s life in 2010.
The leader of the terror faction, Alan Ryan, was murdered in September in a daylight gun attack – and Kelly was suspected of being involved.
Ryan had been embroiled in extortion and racketeering and demanding money from drugs gangs in Dublin. Kelly had strong links to all of those drug gangs.
At the time of Dunne’s murder a source said of Kelly: “On the outside, he seems like the quintessential retired Dubliner -- he enjoys his pints and going to the bookies but in reality he is a criminal campaigner with links to most of the crime gangs in the State.”
Kelly had seven convictions, all for serious offences.
He received a 14-year sentence in 1993 after being convicted of possessing a large quantity of cocaine when a van he was in was stopped by gardai.
He was also sentenced to three years in 1988 for an assault on Workers' Party member Pat Quearney in Parnell Square, Dublin.
At that trial, a detective sergeant gave evidence that he had known Kelly for seven years and knew him to associate with "hardened and dangerous" criminals.
But the dad-of-nine is said to have cut his teeth as an armed robber working with the Official IRA in the 1980s, raising money for the paramilitary group.
Kelly also had convictions for offences including burglary and breach of the peace.
On a personal level, Kelly had endured difficult times in recent years with the death of his wife Ann following the tragic deaths of two of his children.
Fifteen people have been shot dead in gun attacks linked to criminal gangs or disputes this year.