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Thursday 27 June 2019

Gardai investigating ambush and murder of leading bookie in 1990 arrest two men

Dessie Fox’s wife Bernadette and his brother Brian lay a wreath at Healy’s Bridge, Prosperous. Photo: INM
Dessie Fox’s wife Bernadette and his brother Brian lay a wreath at Healy’s Bridge, Prosperous. Photo: INM
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

TWO men have been arrested by gardai investigating the murder of a leading bookie almost 28 years ago.

Dessie Fox, one of the top layers in the betting ring, was shot dead as he was driving across north Kildare to the Curragh races on September 30, 1990.

Today's arrests have been described as significant.

The move follows a breakthrough in inquiries being carried out jointly by officers from the Kildare division and members of the force's cold case team, the serious crime review unit.

The suspects are aged 61 and 50 years.

Both are detained under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act and can be held without charge for up to three days.

Bookmaker Dessie Fox
Bookmaker Dessie Fox

One was arrested this morning in Tallaght in south county Dublin while the other was taken out of Wheatfield prison in west Dublin for questioning.

The shooting is believed to have been linked to republican terrorists with inquiries carried out on both sides of the Border.

Mr Fox, who was from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, was ambushed and robbed by a gang at Healy's Bridge, near Prosperous, Co Kildare, where his car was forced to stop.

The 47-year-old bookmaker was shot in the thigh but the bullet severed an artery and he bled to death at the scene.

Earlier in the investigation, gardai disclosed that up to 17 people had been arrested with 500 statements taken and 1,500 people interviewed.

The gang made off with €20,000 in cash and left Mr Fox dying in his car.

Senior officers have described today's arrests as "significant" and said they hoped to make further progress with their inquiries.

The two suspects are being questioned this afternoon about possession of firearms.

But officers have confirmed the arrests are being directly linked to the murder of Mr Fox.

Gardai have now issued a new appeal for information about the shooting and said they believed there were people who knew what happened on the day of the murder but had not yet come forward.

With changing circumstances over the past two decades, those people might now be prepared to make contact, officers said.

They said people could contact the confidential line, 1800 666111, or phone Naas garda station, which is the headquarters of the case review.

Mr Fox's daughter, Lorna O'Mahony has previously said the lives of her mother and two sisters had been shattered by his death.

"We miss him every day, we miss talking to him, asking his advice, sharing our day to day lives with him," said Mrs O'Mahony, who was 15 years old at the time of the murder.

"We lost so much that day, and so did my dad. He has missed seeing us grow up, start our first jobs, get married, and have our own children, his grandchildren. We believe there are people out there who know what happened to my Dad the day he was killed", she added.

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