Sunday 18 February 2018

Life in jail for RIRA gunman who murdered gang godfather Kelly

Eamon Kelly
Eamon Kelly

Diarmaid Mac Dermott

A man has been jailed for life for the Real IRA murder of gangland godfather Eamon Kelly, who was shot four times in the back outside his home over two years ago.

Sean Connolly (35), of Bernard Curtis House, Bluebell, Dublin, pleaded guilty to the murder of Eamon Kelly (65) at Furry Park Road, Killester on December 4, 2012.

The Special Criminal Court heard Connolly was arrested shortly after he shot veteran criminal Kelly four times in the back as he returned home from a betting shop. Kelly had cracked ribs following a fall and his mobility was impaired.

Detective Garda Áine Ní Chatháin of the Special Detective Unit arrested Connolly as he walked towards the entrance of Clontarf Castle 20 minutes after the shooting.

The court heard that firearms residue on Connolly matched eight spent 9mm cartridges found at the murder scene, that accelerant found on his shoes matched that used to burn out a black Lexus car used in the killing, and that Connolly admitted his part in the murder to gardaí after his arrest.

Detective Inspector Paul Scott, the senior investigating officer, said that gardaí had warned father-of-nine Kelly that his life was in danger after an unsuccessful attempt to shoot him in 2012.

"We were satisfied from the investigation that this was a highly professional operation carried out by the IRA," he said.

He said Kelly was a creature of habit who frequented Ladbrokes betting shop in Killester. He left the bookies around 3.50pm and walked down a laneway that was a short-cut to his home. He was 70m from home when a number of shots were fired and witnesses saw him attempting to run to his home.

The court heard Connolly had two previous convictions in the Special Criminal Court - in 2004 he was jailed for six years for membership of the IRA and in 2000 he was jailed for four years for possession of firearms and ammunition.

Kelly's daughter, Alison, who gave a victim impact statement to the court, said that the senseless murder of her father had caused pain and suffering to all her family.

The court sentenced Connolly to life imprisonment.

Eamon Kelly was involved in organised crime for more than four decades. In 1993, he was jailed for 14 years for smuggling a large shipment of cocaine into the country. Kelly was linked to other major crime figures, such as Martin Hyland and Eamon Dunne and it is believed he fell foul of a Real IRA gang.

Irish Independent

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