Drug gang killed two rivals 'in revenge for shootings'
GARDAI believe a double murder in north Co Kildare last March was a tit-for-tat attack in revenge for a number of shooting incidents earlier in the year in south Co Dublin.
Officers say they have made significant progress with their inquiries in the past few days into the shooting of drugs gang enforcer Andrew Barry (31) and a 31-year-old Lithuanian, Zilvinas Varnauskas, who had called to Barry's home.
This follows the arrest of two men in the north Kildare area. They were taken to Leixlip garda station for questioning and subsequently released without charge.
But gardai said last night they were putting "the pieces of the jigsaw" in place and expected to make further arrests.
The fatal shooting took place at Barry's home at Rochford Avenue in Kilcock.
Barry, who had been the target of a major investigation by local gardai for more than a year, was shot in the upper body.
Mr Varnauskas, who was shot twice, died in a neighbouring garden after he fled.
Two other men in the house were injured when shots from a handgun and shotgun were fired downstairs.
Both have since been discharged from hospital.
Gardai believe Barry's gang was in the middle of a turf war with a rival outfit based in Tallaght, which intensified in the weeks prior to the murders.
The north Kildare group was blamed for two shooting incidents in Tallaght in February when nobody was hurt and officers are working on the theory that the murders were in revenge for those attacks.
It emerged after the murders that the two factions had been involved in an unarmed "face off" shortly after Christmas in a bid to settle their grievances.
But the Tallaght incidents resulted in a fresh surge of violence.
Barry is believed by gardai to have headed up a group of men, who acted as "heavies" for a Dublin gang boss, now living in north Kildare, and that they tortured their victims to collect cash owed to the gang leader.
Detectives had been investigating allegations that Barry had physically assaulted a number of men after abducting and threatening them.
Some of his victims were also said to have sustained minor stab wounds.
Barry had a number of criminal convictions and at the time of his death was before the courts on charges of assault and coercion.