Saturday 18 November 2017

Man shot dead in north Dublin seconds after he dropped child to school

Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A member of a Traveller gang was shot dead in cold blood just seconds after he brought his child to school.

The latest gun attack in Dublin took place in Balbriggan this morning.

General view Gardai on scene with body on ground. Clonard Street, Balbriggan, Dublin
General view Gardai on scene with body on ground. Clonard Street, Balbriggan, Dublin

The man, who was named locally as Benny Whitehouse (36), was hit four times as he got into his car on Clonard Street in the north Dublin town just after 9am.

His partner was shot in the leg by the lone gunman who then sped from the scene.

The horrific gun attack took place just yards from St Peter and Paul’s school as parents brought their children to the primary school.

Whitehouse had just dropped his child to the school and walked back the short distance to his VW Polo when he was singled out by a gunman who opened fire on him and repeatedly shot him.

It is understood the gunman ran to the driver’s side of the car and fired a volley of shots into it through the side window.

Whitehouse, who lived at Westbrook Rise in Balbriggan, tried to escape and ended up face down on the footpath with his legs still in the car.

A local man who heard the shooting tolld how he tried to save the victim’s life but it was too late.

“I heard around five shots, in rapid succession, and ran out the door,” he said.

Gardai at the scene of the shooting in Balbriggan today
Gardai at the scene of the shooting in Balbriggan today

“I could see the man lying face down on the road and saw a lone man speeding away in a Ford Focus,” he added.

 “I ran to the victim. He had been hit twice in the back, once in the chest and once in the hand from what I could see.

“I tried to give him CPR but there was no signs of life at all, he was gone,” the witness explained.

“His partner was screaming. She had been hit in the upper leg and she was very distressed. I think she knew her partner was dead,” said the man.

“At that stage the gardai arrived and took over,” he added.

The body of Benny Whitehouse lay on the pavement this morning covered in plastic sheeting while gardai sealed off the scene pending a forensic examination.

His wine couloured VW Polo which had the driver’s window shattered, was also covered up by gardai. His partner was removed to Beaumont Hospital where she is being treated for her injuries.

Benny Whitehouse’s brother arrived at the shooting scene shortly after his brother had died and began shouting at gardai, saying: “He was looking for a (bullet proof) vest but ye wouldn’t give him one”.

Whitehouse is believed to have been targeted as part of an ongoing feud that has led to trouble outside St Peter and Paul school over the past year.

Armed gardai were forced to patrol the school last November after pupils there witnessed two feud-related attacks.

There were fears that innocent children would be caught in the crossfire of the bitter feud which has been ongoing for a number of months.

In one past incident, a 34-year-old man and his wife drove to a school in a green Toyota Avensis car with the intention of dropping their two children off.

However five men in a Ford Transit van were waiting for the man and when his car pulled in, they jumped out of the vehicle and tried to grab him.

The man jumped back into his car and drove off at high speed damaging other vehicles parked outside the school.

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