Political class gets a bloody reminder that tackling our crime problem can't wait
Published 01/03/2016 | 02:30
The murder of Vincent Ryan yesterday was a further escalation in yet another deadly gangland feud that threatens to spiral out of control.
For the third time in as many weeks, hitmen felt untouchable enough to stage a daylight attack.
And as with the battle between the Kinahan and Hutch mobs, this latest shooting is also likely to lead to more bloodshed on the streets of the capital.
Vincent Ryan was the 25-year-old younger brother of the notorious Real IRA crime boss Alan Ryan - who was gunned down in a similar fashion as he walked along the street in the bright sunshine of a September afternoon in 2012.
That murder was carried out by members of a north Dublin drugs gang which was locked in a bloody feud with Alan Ryan, who wanted a share of their dirty money.
His slaying was avenged when dissident Republicans - all of whom are involved in organised crime - then murdered the veteran crime boss Eamon Kelly a few months later.
In the past three years, there have been several tit-for-tat incidents.
Gardaí also foiled a number of execution plots, including one where machine guns were found near a garda station.
On that occasion, the leader of the drugs gang, dubbed Mr Big, was due to sign on as part of his bail conditions for another serious offence - and it was believed the guns had been left for the RIRA hit team.
Now gardaí are working on the theory that the murder of Vincent Ryan was carried out by the same drugs gang responsible for his brother's demise.
In October 2013, Vincent Ryan and close friend Darragh Evans (25) were cleared by the Special Criminal Court of charges of possession of an AK assault rifle and a revolver at Clonshaugh Walk, Coolock, on September 15, 2011. This was the same day that notorious drugs trafficker Michael 'Micka' Kelly - nicknamed The Panda - was shot dead.
Kelly, who was a close associate of Mr Big, had been involved in a feud with Alan Ryan after refusing to pay an extortion demand.
Alan Ryan's murder was in revenge for Kelly's killing.
Yesterday's attack could mean that Mr Big's drug gang still bears a grudge against some of Ryan's associates and wants to spill more blood.
Last October, Vincent Ryan suffered severe facial injuries after he was slashed from ear to ear in a knife attack.
The gun attack yesterday is clear evidence of a further escalation of the violence - with the protagonists possibly deciding to take advantage of the confusion caused in the wake of the conflagration between the Kinahan and Hutch clans.
And while the country's stunned political class were emerging from an electoral bloodbath, the gangsters reminded them of a political priority that will not wait.
Gangland crime must be tackled.