Suspect in shooting paying 'protection money' to dissidents
A drug dealer suspected of shooting dead a 22-year-old man had been paying "gratuity money" to dissident Republicans.
The 42-year-old criminal was still being questioned in Kildare Garda Station last night about the fatal shooting of Jason Doogue in Athy, Co Kildare last Friday.
The Athy man was arrested at his home around an hour after Mr Doogue was shot dead.
A teenage male and a female, who are both well known to the suspected gunman, continued to be questioned at separate Kildare garda stations last night.
"This individual has been heavily involved in the local drugs trade for years," said a source. "During that time he has been paying off certain local dissidents who had links to the crew that Alan Ryan and Larry Keane were involved with.
"In fact, he has made no secret that he has been paying off these fellas for years - and he seems to think it gives him a level of protection to do what he wants.
"It is understood that the payments have continued even after the violent deaths of Ryan and Keane."
Alan Ryan (32) was shot dead as part of a bitter feud with a drugs gang in north Dublin on September 3, 2012. Close associate Larry Keane (56) was found seriously injured by a pedestrian in Athy shortly before midnight on the July 18, 2013. He subsequently died following an alleged assault.
It is not known whether Jason Doogue's suspected killer had any direct dealings with Ryan, but sources said that he knew Keane "very well".
Yesterday, the Herald revealed that the chief suspect targeted Mr Doogue after a confrontation between the two men which started as an argument over €100.
Sources revealed that the suspect's "ego was damaged" after the younger man beat him up when the 42-year-old slapped him in the face.
Mr Doogue was sitting on a wall with up to four friends when the assailant, wearing a balaclava, approached him on a BMX bike.
He opened fire at close range with a handgun and shot Doogue once, who then collapsed over the wall.
The gunman, in front of the horrified onlookers, then leant over the wall and fired off another two shots before fleeing.
During a series of searches in the Athy area this week, gardai seized a number of items they think could be of significance to their inquiries. These were then taken away for forensic examination.
The items removed include a sink that gardai believe the chief suspect attempted to clean himself in following the murder.
Gardai also seized three bicycles for forensic analysis.
A 13-year-old boy was released from garda custody on Monday night after his arrest on Saturday.
He is not suspected of having any direct involvement in the brutal shooting.