Crime boss was first to draw blood in lengthy feud that has claimed 15 lives
NOTORIOUS gangland boss Brian Rattigan has one murder conviction, but his actions have contributed to many more deaths.
Rattigan was the leader of one of the gangs in the deadly Crumlin-Drimnagh feud that claimed up to 15 lives over the past dozen years.
His role in murder, assaults and drug trafficking was put before the Special Criminal Court by gardai, whose evidence prompted a "thank you" from presiding judge, Mr Justice Paul Butler.
Rattigan was convicted of the murder of the first feud victim, Declan Gavin, who was stabbed to death outside a takeaway in Crumlin, Dublin, in August 2001.
Rattigan called Gavin a "rat" before he killed him. The insult referred to the gang leader's suspicion that Gavin was responsible for a garda raid that resulted in the seizure of a €1.5m haul of ecstasy and cocaine at a city centre hotel.
The seizure created deep divisions and the group, who had been close friends as well as criminal associates, violently imploded – with the rival side led by 'Fat' Freddie Thompson.
Gavin's murder less than a year later turned them into bitter enemies and in a retaliatory strike, in July 2002, Rattigan's brother Joseph was shot dead with a handgun minutes after leaving his girlfriend's home.
The arrest of a number of key players in the feud resulted in a lull until February 2004, when Paul Warren was shot dead in a pub in the south inner city in revenge for the Rattigan murder.
Gardai suspected the hit on Warren was carried out by John Roche, and in March 2005 he was shot in the chest as he left his parked car in Kilmainham. This was followed by a spate of murders that continued until last autumn.
Det Sgt Brian Roberts, of the garda national drugs unit, told the court yesterday that in 2008 there were 386 drug related deaths, of which 171 were from heroin and its substitute, methadone.
He said the heroin seized in Crumlin was enough for almost 50,000 street deals and would have yielded a potential profit of almost €1m.
Det Supt Brian Sutton told the court the escalation of the gang feud had resulted in the murder of nine people associated with Rattigan, including three relatives.