Wednesday 20 February 2019

'New IRA' leader Braney branded a coward as he gets life in jail for killing rival

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Kevin Braney: The 44-year-old leader of the so-called ‘New IRA’ in Dublin

Tom Brady and Conor Feehan

The leader of the so-called 'New IRA' in Dublin has been jailed for life for the murder of another dissident republican almost six years ago.

Kevin Braney (44), of Glenshane Crescent, Tallaght, Dublin 24, was found guilty by the Special Criminal Court last Monday of the "premeditated" murder of Peter Butterly (35). Butterly was gunned down outside The Huntsman Inn in Co Meath on March 6, 2013.

The victim's widow Eithne told the Irish Independent: "Kevin Braney murdered Peter to boost his own ego, but it's him gardaí were monitoring. It's him that got everyone caught. It's because of him that three others are also serving life just like him.

"The evidence heard in the first trial was that at the time he organised the murder, his instructions to the killers were 'box him in and empty it into him'. Well, look who is boxed-in now, starting a life sentence," she added.

"Braney is a coward. He couldn't even look at me in the court as I read out my victim-impact statement."

Braney last night began his sentence on the E wing of the top security prison in Portlaoise. He will be among a group of 30 'New IRA' on that wing of the jail.

The 44-year-old was the key figure in the 'New IRA' on this side of the Border. Having been a strong supporter of the peace process, Braney grew disillusioned and joined the ranks of the 'Real IRA'.

Around this time an alliance of the 'Real IRA', the Republican Action Against Drugs and other former Provisionals in Dublin formed.

The 'Real IRA' in the capital, under the control of Alan Ryan, had developed into an undisciplined gang immersed in a deadly feud with criminal gangs involved in drug trafficking and extortion.

The Northern leaders began stamping their authority internally through threats and punishment shootings and when it was over Braney was in charge of the Dublin and Cork units.

Among the victims of the infighting was Peter Butterly with Braney playing his part in the planning of the murder.

One of its first targets was prison officer David Black, shot dead driving to work at Maghaberry jail in November 2012. Planning his murder, the 'New IRA' turned to Braney's terrorist team to supply a car for the killers. Bought in Tallaght and taken to Carrigallen, Co Leitrim, it was handed over to Northern-based terrorists.

The PSNI revealed in 2017 the 'New IRA' had developed a highly dangerous explosive device, with a pressure plate designed to detonate when a vehicle drives over it.

The device was developed because of the difficult of attaching booby-trap bombs to the underside of cars - a method used by dissidents to kill their target. The group was also behind the recent courthouse car bomb in Derry.

Irish Independent

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