Friday 23 February 2018

Arrests made after suspected dissident shot dead

Gardai at the scene of the fatal shooting this evening
Gardai at the scene of the fatal shooting this evening
The Huntsman Inn. Photo: Google Streetview

Brian Hutton

Five men have been arrested after a suspected dissident was lured to his death in a pub car park.

The victim, named locally as Peter Butterly, of Cortown, Togher, Dunleer, in Co Louth, was gunned down about 30km (19 miles) away, outside the Huntsman Pub in Gormanston, Co Meath this afternoon.

It is believed he drove into the car park, close to the M1 motorway between Dublin and Belfast, shortly after 2pm in a Renault Laguna.

As he got out of the car, another saloon car pulled up beside him, two men got out and at least one of them fired a number of shots at close range into his upper body and head. The married father of two teenage girls and an infant son died from his wounds at the scene.

The attackers then fled onto the Ballscadden Road in the direction of Gormanston College.

Gardai who were on their way to the murder scene intercepted a Toyota Corolla car and arrested four men, all aged in their 20s.

A handgun was also recovered at the scene of the arrests, while a fifth man - aged in his 40s - was detained nearby shortly afterwards in the pub car park.

All the suspects are being held at different garda stations in north Dublin under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.

A garda source said one line of inquiry was that Butterly was lured to his death as part of a bloody fall-out involving dissident republicans. He was an associate of a Real IRA boss and convicted criminal Alan Ryan, who was shot dead in north Dublin last year as part of the ongoing feud.

Ryan's faction was involved in extortion and intimidation of drug dealers and racketeering against pub and club owners.

Butterly appeared before the non-jury Special Criminal Court last year accused of membership of the Real IRA.

"He was a reasonably significant player in the Real IRA," said one Garda source.

In his mid-30s, he was arrested in 2010 by anti-terror detectives in a wave of raids across Louth, Wexford and Waterford, during which 10 people were detained as firearms, ammunition and bomb-making equipment were recovered.

The man had denied membership of an unlawful organisation but the case against him collapsed because a then recent Supreme Court ruling had rendered the warrant used for his arrest as unconstitutional.

Deputy state pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar carried out preliminary tests of his body at the scene. A full post mortem examination is expected to be carried out at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda tomorrow.

The scene was sealed off for a full forensic examination by Garda technical experts.

Investigating gardai have appealed for witnesses to get in contact with them at an incident room set up at Laytown Garda Station

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