Wednesday 22 November 2017

Ex-TD son in hitman case 'involved in fraud dispute'

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THE son of a former TD solicited an undercover detective posing as a hitman to kill an accountant because of a bitter dispute arising from a fraud investigation, it has been alleged.

The man, a former councillor in his late 30s, was arrested on Thursday morning and had his period of detention extended yesterday by the District Court for a further 72 hours.

Detectives have until Tuesday morning to question him about an alleged conspiracy to murder three people.

His apparent targets were an accountant, a tax official and a garda detective. Friends said his father was "absolutely devastated" by the circumstances of his son's arrest.

It has emerged that the man was detained following an undercover surveillance operation launched three months ago.

Gardai fast-tracked the arrest amid fears for both the man's own safety and that of the three people he had targeted.

There were concerns that he might make contact with a real gangland figure capable of arranging such killings.

The detective targeted, who works on fraud cases in Munster, is married and has three children aged under 12. The other apparent targets are also married and have children. All three were singled out by the former councillor following a fraud investigation into his affairs in 2011.

A complicating factor for gardai is that he has a history of serious mental health problems, and has been attending a psychiatrist. He was in a very distressed state during questioning.

The garda operation was launched when the accountant first became aware of threats being made to his life.

Gardai were subsequently contacted by another individual, an acquaintance of the arrested man, who was shocked at having been asked about how to procure a gangland hitman.

The three targets were contacted by gardai and warned about their personal security and that of their families.

Irish Independent

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