Saturday 25 May 2019

Armed gardaí patrolling seaside town as vicious turf war erupts

Balbriggan Garda Station
Balbriggan Garda Station

Ken Foy

Armed gardai are patrolling a seaside town as a vicious feud threatens to spiral out of control after a man was left fighting for his life when he was stabbed four times.

Members of the force’s Armed Support Unit (ASU) have been present in Balbriggan in recent days because of fears that the mob which has taken over the drugs patch once controlled by jailed gang boss Cornelius Price will be targeted.

The simmering tensions relate to a shocking attack that happened at 4am on Sunday, June 24, at Bath Road in the town, when a man was stabbed four times – including in the lungs and the back.

“This man was lucky to survive – a suspect has been identified but no arrests have yet taken place. Gardai are following a definite line of enquiry in this matter” a source said last night.

Sources revealed that tensions are so high in the locality after the stab attack that armed officers are now monitoring the situation closely.

The chief suspect in the case is on the run and may have now fled the country.

It is understood that the stabbing happened when a dispute arose during an “epic four-week crack cocaine and heroin” binge.

Sources have revealed that a female partner of a suspected hitman, who is at the centre of a major Dutch money laundering probe, was in the house at the time and was “off her noggin” when the stabbing happened.

The chief suspect for the stabbing is closely associated with James McDonagh, who was last week jailed after he admitted putting a handgun to his neighbour’s head when she told his children to stop pulling down bunting.

McDonagh pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to threatening to kill or cause serious harm to both Dolores and Patrick Doyle on September 20, 2015.

Judge Martin Nolan said it was in “all probability not a real gun” and said he did not think McDonagh ever intended to harm the Doyles.

“He put a gun to the head of Ms Doyle. It was a convincing gun and they felt their life was under threat,” Judge Nolan said, before he accepted evidence that Mr Doyle had previously been ill.

He accepted that McDonagh had been reared in a background where “violence was used to solve issues” and said in such incidences a person is more likely to be violent.

Judge Nolan further accepted that McDonagh had taken “concrete steps” to rehabilitate but said a custodial sentence must be imposed, before he suspended the final two years of a four-year term.

Gardai have established that McDonagh’s close associate is the chief suspect in the attempted murder in Balbriggan.

His gang has taken over the patch which was once controlled by Price as he serves his sentence in Cork Prison for recklessly endangering a garda. previously revealed that the mob is a family-based organised crime gang with strong links to Blanchardstown and Cavan town.

They cannot be named here as most members of the gang are facing charges before the courts and the crew is also involved in stolen car offences.

The mob it has taken over from was closely linked to psycho criminal Price.

Price was jailed for three years in February last year after being convicted of reckless endangerment of a garda at Balbriggan Garda Station more than three years ago, following a trial.

His mob is suspected of involvement in three gangland murders and Price is suspected of still “directing operations” from jail.

Sources have revealed it is suspected that Price has been using junior criminals to meet his associates in the jail, where drugs and phones are handed over.

While not a suspect himself for any of the three murders, Price’s associates are the chief suspects for the murder of Benny Whitehouse (36), who was shot dead in September 2014. In May 2015, Price was arrested and later released without charge by gardai investigating that murder.

The gang are also the chief suspects for the suspected murders of Tallaght man Willie Maughan (34) and his Latvian partner Anna Varslavane (21).

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