Friday 27 April 2018

Murder at petrol station 'could stir up Traveller feud'

Garda forensics examining the scene of a fatal shooting at Moneen, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Photo: Keith Heneghan / Phocus.
Garda forensics examining the scene of a fatal shooting at Moneen, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Photo: Keith Heneghan / Phocus.

Tom Shiel

A FINGERTIP forensic examination of a fuel station forecourt where a 29-year-old man sustained fatal gunshot wounds has continued as a post-mortem examination on the body began at the nearby Mayo General Hospital.

The results of the autopsy on the body of Owen Maughan, a settled Traveller who lived at Oak View, Castlebar, Co Mayo, are expected to confirm that he died after being struck by a number of blasts from a shotgun.

The shooting by an unknown assailant occurred at 3.35pm on Wednesday outside the Mace Top Oil premises in Moneen, Castlebar.

The escape vehicle, which was dark coloured and possibly a BMW, then sped off in the direction of the N60 road towards Balla.

For some years, there has there has been a bitter feud between the Maughans and members of another Travelling family.

Two of the murder victim's brothers were shot and injured in separate incidents over the past 18 months.

Both men have recovered from their injuries.

One of the latter shootings occurred at the very same forecourt where Owen Maughan received fatal injuries on Wednesday.


Garda Supt Pat Diskin refused to be drawn on the well-known feud between the Traveller families when he briefed the media on the latest developments at the murder scene yesterday.

Supt Diskin said the alarm was raised at 3.35pm on Wednesday by a 999 caller.

Mr Maughan was pronounced dead around 8pm at Mayo General Hospital after being rushed there by ambulance. Supt Diskin appealed for anyone with information about the shooting to contact gardai at a special incident room which has been set up at Castlebar garda station on (094) 9022222.

The shooting victim is believed to have been availing of water and air services at the filling station when he was attacked.

His car remained at the scene for some time but had been removed yesterday for a more specialised forensic examination.

Asked at yesterday's press briefing about comments by a pubic representative that Mayo had become a a "murder hotspot" with six murders in as many months, Supt Diskin said it should be pointed out that in relation to five of the murders, people were before the courts.

In the light of Owen Maughan's murder, there are concerns now that the 'war' between the Traveller factions will be seriously escalated.

Since Wednesday's murder there has been a noticeable increase in the garda presence in the Castlebar area backed up members of the regional Armed Support Unit (ASU).

Irish Independent

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