Target of shooting lured to death by gang boss
Published 21/01/2009 | 00:00
A top gangland figure was lured to his death by his boss in a county Dublin cul de sac yesterday evening.
The dead man was named last night as Graham McNally (34), from Cappagh Avenue, Finglas, in north Dublin.
Gardai believe he was the victim of a double-cross by his boss, a major drug trafficker, and was shot six times in the head on the old Ashbourne Road after he stepped out of a car.
The gang boss is thought to have ordered McNally's murder in the belief that his former right-hand man had attempted to set him up earlier this month.
The gang boss, who took over the remains of the criminal outfit, formerly led by Martin 'Marlo' Hyland, is also being blamed for ordering the murder of drug dealer, Michael 'Roly' Cronin two weeks ago and two other fatal shootings in the past 18 months.
McNally's body was found in a ditch at Coldwinters on the former Dublin to Derry road, which had been turned into a cul de sac since the Ashbourne bypass was built.
Local residents heard shots being fired shortly before the body was found around 5.15pm.
Senior garda officers pointed out last night that their inquiries were at an early stage but they believed that McNally had been persuaded by somebody he trusted to travel out of Finglas for a meeting.
Initial evidence indicated he had been shot at the side of the road rather than in a vehicle and was hit repeatedly in the face by the gunman, who then sped away.
Officers are working on the theory that the gang boss regarded the shooting as revenge for a suspected double-cross earlier this month when McNally and the boss were due to meet a group of other men, who had been at odds with them.
However, the meeting did not take place as a result of action by gardai, who were satisfied they prevented a 'hit' on the gang boss.
As a result, the boss decided that McNally was responsible for setting him up and vowed to "turn the tables" on him, according to gardai late last night.
"At this stage we are working on theories and suspicions rather than fact but the circumstances of this shooting seems to be pointing in that direction", one officer said.
McNally became a target for the Organised Crime Unit because of his associations with the gang boss about two years ago. But in the early days he was not regarded as a major player in gangland and seemed to be on the periphery of the gang.
However, in the fallout following the murder of Marlo Hyland the gang splintered and at one stage seemed set to implode.
McNally became more prominent in the faction led by Hyland's successor and in the past couple of months was being described as his right-hand man by detectives on the west and north sides of the capital.
At one stage, McNally was arrested by gardai in connection with a shooting incident at the home of a former friend. He is also believed to have been shot in the leg in a separate incident.
After last night's shooting, McNally was taken by ambulance to James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown where he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
The scene at Coldwinters was sealed off to await the arrival of a garda technical team while local gardai and members of the national bureau of criminal investigation met for a conference at Finglas station.
Fine Gael's justice spokesman Charlie Flanagan said last night that the McNally shooting was another indication of the extent to which Justice Minister Dermot Ahern had allowed law and order to "slip" on the streets.
He said the horrendous shooting was proof that the Government's priorities did not include tackling crime and coldblooded shootings in the capital.