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Thursday 23 November 2017

Paul Williams: Brothers in arms - but families left behind pay real price

Mindless drug-related gangland violence has taken the lives of several siblings in recent years

Vinny Ryan
Vinny Ryan
Alan Ryan. Photo: Collins Court
Eddie Ryan
Bernard Sugg
Stephen Sugg

Paul Williams

Considering the violent world in which he was immersed since childhood, the murder of Real IRA member Vinny Ryan was almost inevitable.

His brutal passing has garnered little sympathy from a public fed up with gangsters causing mayhem on the streets as they try to wipe each other out.

Gardaí search gardens of houses near the scene of the shooting dead of Vincent Ryan on McKee Road, Finglas. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Gardaí search gardens of houses near the scene of the shooting dead of Vincent Ryan on McKee Road, Finglas. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Vincent Ryan. Pic: Collins Courts
A burnt-out car at Victoria Bridge, Co Kildare, which gardaí suspect was used as a getaway car in the murder of Vincent Ryan. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

But no matter how deserving of a bullet the victims of the gang feuds may be, it is their devastated families who pay the highest price.

Even the most psychopathic and ruthless of them all leave behind people who loved them dearly and for whom their deaths are a tragedy.

But when a second family member perishes at the end of an assassin's gun the profound sense of tragedy and loss must be incalculable.

Read more: Getaway car in Vincent Ryan murder stolen months before attack

Mark Glennon
Mark Glennon
John Paul Joyce
John Roche
Noel Roche
Kenneth Corbally
Paul Corbally

On Tuesday, Vinny Ryan's grieving, widowed mother will be the chief mourner amongst what is expected to be a pageant of paramilitary thuggery.

She will watch her young son being laid to rest next to his older, wayward brother Alan who was also murdered in a daylight assassination in 2012.

But the Ryans are not the only family forced to bury two sons as a result of the mindless drug-related violence, a phenomenon which has become a depressingly regular feature of gangland in Ireland in recent years.

Eddie and John Ryan

Gangland enforcer Eddie Ryan and his brother John were among the first casualties of the brutal gang war which was to engulf Limerick city for almost 14 years.

The assassination of Eddie Ryan by his former partners in crime, the Keanes, in a city pub in November 2000 ultimately lit the powder keg, giving the notorious Dundon / McCarthys an opportunity to strike for control of Limerick's gangland.

That led to the murder of Eddie's killer, Kieran Keane, which was in turn avenged when John Ryan was gunned down in 2003.

Read more: Murder victim Vincent Ryan refused sit-down with gangster 'Mr Big' after street attack

Stephen and Bernard Sugg

Stephen Sugg and his close friend Shane Coates were the leaders of the notorious Westies gang, which earned an almost unparalleled reputation for violence and fear.

But the writing was on the wall when their former partners in crime, the Glennons, and another local crime family staged a takeover coup in August 2003 when they murdered Bernard 'Verb' Sugg, above left.

After that Stephen Sugg and Shane Coates fled to southern Spain where they too were murdered by associates after they tried to push their weight around. The bodies of the two Westies leaders were eventually found under a warehouse floor in Spain in 2006.

Andrew and Mark Glennon

In April 2005, a month after the murder of John Roche, Andrew 'Madser' Glennon was executed in a scene fit for a gangster movie when four armed men surrounded his car and riddled it with bullets.

His brother Mark was shot dead in September of the same year at the family home in Blanchardstown. The Glennons were former members of the Westies gang who had joined forces with another crime family to murder the Sugg brothers in a take-over bid. But the alliance had not lasted very long and it cost the Glennon brothers their lives.

Read more: Car Vinny Ryan shot in registered to Kinahan drugs gang

Tommy and John Paul Joyce

In June 2009, 20-year-old drug dealer Tommy Joyce, a Traveller from north Dublin, was shot five times as part of a feud between rival gangs in the area that had claimed at least five lives. Then in January 2010, his older brother John Paul Joyce was abducted, executed and his body dumped on a lane near Dublin Airport.

John and Noel Roche

In 2005, brothers John and Noel Roche from Rutland Grove in Crumlin were murdered in separate assassination attacks as part of another notorious gang war known as the Crumlin/Drimnagh feud, which claimed up to 14 lives over the period of a decade.

In March, John Roche was shot dead outside his apartment in Kilmainham and the following November his older brother Noel was executed as he drove a car in leafy Clontarf.

The hit man was Paddy Doyle, who was working for current Kinahan gang allies 'Fat' Freddie Thompson and his cousin Liam Byrne, whose brother David Byrne was murdered in the Regency hotel attack last month. Doyle was subsequently murdered when a jeep driven by the Monk's nephew Gary Hutch was ambushed in Marbella.

Kenneth and Paul Corbally

In June 2010, gangster brothers Kenneth and Paul Corbally from Ballyfermot died in a hail of bullets when they were ambushed in a well-planned hit.

Paul Corbally's body alone was left with 35 entry and exit wounds.

The two notorious brothers were gunned down in a feud with former friends and associates in a Ballyfermot-based mob dubbed the M50 gang, which emerged in 1990s and got its name for using the new motorway to carry out ram raids in rural areas.

One of the weapons used in the attack was a service pistol stolen during a burglary from the home of a PSNI officer in the North.

It later emerged that the two brothers, who were in their 30s, had been warned by gardaí three times that their lives were in danger. On each occasion they were given official forms alerting them to the threats, the Corbally brothers told gardaí to "f*** off" and threw the forms on the ground. The last time the gardaí advised them of a threat, Kenneth Corbally bragged to the officers: "Those muppets won't get us." Two weeks later, the Corbally brothers were proved fatally wrong.

Irish Independent

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