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Eight fatally shot by gardai in past 15 years

ARMED gardai have been involved in eight fatal shootings over the past 15 years including two incidents of double deaths.

Yesterday's death of two raiders at Lusk, Co Dublin was the second time two gunmen have been shot dead by officers in a single incident.

In July 1990, two armed raiders were shot dead in a gun battle with gardai after a car chase which ranged across the whole of the northside of Dublin. It followed a raid on the Bank of Ireland in Leixlip, Co Kildare.

William "Blinkey" Doyle (35), a married man with three children from Ballyfermot, and Thomas Wilson (39), originally from the North but living with relatives in Donnycarney in Dublin, died when the chase ended in Dublin's Fairview Park. Both had lengthy criminal records. Earlier that year, in January, gardai shot eight people, some of them innocent civilians, during an attempted bank raid in Athy, Co Kildare.

One of the raiders, Austin Higgins (26), of Donaghmede in Dublin, died later in hospital from a single bullet wound to the head.

Higgins, who was on bail on robbery charges, had been part of a five-man armed gang which held up the bank. The next fatal shooting by gardai was in June 1997 when John Morris, a 26-year-old member of the Irish National Liberation Army, was shot and killed by armed officers following a botched raid on Newspread Ltd offices in Dublin's Inchicore.

He died the following day.

In 1998, Dubliner Ronan McLaughlin was shot dead by the garda Emergency Response Unit at Ashford, Co Wicklow on May 1.

Six armed men attempted to break into a cash-in-transit security van on the busy N11 road to Wicklow and Wexford but were interrupted by armed gardai. Mr McLaughlin was fatally injured and died at the scene. A handgun was recovered near his body. The most controversial shooting was that of John Carthy (27), who suffered from manic depression, outside his home at Abbeylara, Co Longford on April 20, 2000, after a 25-hour armed stand-off with gardai.