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Saturday 24 February 2018

Gangland feud set to heat up as truce fails

Gardai prepare for fresh wave of hits in capital crime war

JIM CUSACK

Gardai are preparing for a renewal of gang violence in Dublin after a Christmas "truce" on feuding failed to last until New Year, with two gun attacks in the city.

Finglas man Glen McGrath, 43, was yesterday still seriously ill in hospital after being shot and injured near the Cappagh House pub in Finglas village on Thursday evening. He was hit in the upper body by four bullets fired at close range by a masked gunman.

Another west Dublin man was reported to be only slightly injured following an attack on him at his home in Clondalkin last Tuesday night. He had three gunshot wounds to his arm, chest and leg.

Gardai said they expected the city's round of gangland killings and shootings to continue in 2011, with intelligence reaching detectives about attempts to kill a number of figures, including the city's most high-profile crime figure, Freddie Thompson.

Thompson, 30, has been living between Spain, Britain and Holland for most of the past year and reports reaching gardai suggest he is planning to travel even further away because of fears that he is being targeted for assassination. It is understood that he has been checking locations in the Far East for a hideaway until he reckons the threats to his life have subsided.

The Crumlin-Drimnagh feud that Thompson had been centrally involved in was thought to have ended in July 2009 with the murder of one of his last remaining major rivals, Anthony Cannon, 26, the 16th man to be killed.

The feud is the subject of a TV3 series, Cocaine Wars, based on the book by journalist Mick McCaffrey, starting tomorrow evening.

Thompson's rivals are said to have regrouped and have recruited young members, including several still in their teens, who are believed to be intent on stamping their mark in the Dublin gang scene.

Thompson is at the top of the young south Dublin gang's list of targets, but he is also under threat from former associates who were behind the main Irish cocaine and heroin importation ring based in Spain. This ring was the target of last year's major operation by Spanish and other European police forces.

Despite the major operation against the drug traffickers, there has been no apparent damage done to the smuggling operations bringing large quantities of drugs into Ireland. The only halt to heroin supply during 2010 was during the summer strike in the French transport industry, which disrupted lorry and ferry links to here and Britain.

While the supply of drugs from the Continent, evidently passing through France, remains uninterrupted, the problem lies with the fractious nature of the distribution gangs in Dublin, including the permanently unstable south inner city network that Freddy Thompson's gang had thought it had settled.

One of the gardai's main concerns, aside from the four or five feuds in the city that were responsible for most of the 18 murders during 2010, is over the break-up of the major drugs ring that was dominated by Eamon Dunne, who was shot dead last April.

During 2009 -- the worst year on record for gangland murders in Dublin -- Dunne's gang was responsible for more than a third of the 29 murders and there were several reprisal attacks on his associates during 2010. Gardai expect these to continue this coming year.

Last Thursday's attack in Finglas is not thought to be connected to the main feud in the area, but the result of a personal grudge.

Gardai particularly expect a continuation of the violence between the renegade republican faction, terming itself the 'Real' IRA, and the main Dublin drug suppliers. This violence has led to four murders, including two of Dunne's former associations. Another associate of Dunne is understood to have been the intended target in the mistaken identity of two young men in Finglas in November.

The innocent victims, Glen Murphy, 20, and Mark Noonan, 23, had no links with organised crime and just happened to be in a Toyota car similar to one used by the Real IRA's gang's intended target when they were gunned down at the Tesco filling station in Finglas on November 23.

The Real IRA group, which is involved in large-scale extortion, has been operating mainly in north and north-west Dublin, but gardai have received reports that it is extending its reach to the west and south inner city, targeting drugs gangs and threatening to murder their leaders if they do not pay extortion demands.

The extending influence of the Real IRA gang is adding to the volatile situation in the Ballyfermot-Ronanstown-Clo-ndalkin area, where there were four murders in 2010 in a feud between the gang formerly led by the Corbally brothers, Kenneth, 22, and Paul, 35, who were shot dead last June.

There was no immediate known reason for the gun attack that left a 30-year-old man injured at his home in Wheatfields Close in Clondalkin last Tuesday. There had been three previous attempts on his life and he received serious hand injuries when attacked with a samurai sword a year ago.

The north inner city feud between associates of the jailed child rapist Christy Griffin and their opponents also shows no sign of abating. Since 2007, the Sheriff St feud has claimed five lives. Associates of Griffin's were behind an attempt to shoot dead a man, 41, as he stopped to buy a Christmas tree at a lay-by near Dublin Airport on December 17. He was struck three times in the arm and upper body, but has since recovered.

Sunday Independent

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