Friday 19 January 2018

Pub shooting victim is a 'gentle giant' not a criminal

Support as doorman fights for life

Michael McHale and Tom Brady

THE uncle of the doorman fighting for his life after being shot outside the pub where he was working, has described him as "a gentle giant" who has never been involved in any criminal activity.

Martin Cummins yesterday told how his nephew Wayne Barrett (31) remained in a critical condition after the shooting outside the Players Lounge pub in Dublin's north inner city at 12.30am on Monday.

He said Mr Barrett was shot twice in the body and once in the head, where the bullet "broke up" as it entered the skull -- leaving him with massive brain damage.

"If Wayne ever had any dealing with the gardai, it would have been on the basis of a parking ticket," Mr Cummins, from Blanchardstown, said.

He made his remarks as investigating officers focused on a link between the shooting and an ongoing row between dissident republicans and local criminals.

Gardai are satisfied Mr Barrett had no connection with any illegal activity but could have been unwittingly associated with some of those involved in the dispute.

Local gardai have been joined by members of the Special Branch and national bureau of investigation as inquiries into the shooting are stepped up.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said yesterday he was worried about the suspected involvement of dissidents in the gun attack and pointed out that this was not a "normal gangland-type" crime.

He said he had spoken several times to Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy since the shooting and said the gardai were working in the aftermath of the attack to ensure there was no retaliation.

Gardai are examining the theory that Mr Barrett may have innocently linked to some dissidents based in the north city and this group were in conflict with an inner city crime gang.

Last night, his condition was described as critical by a spokesman at Beaumont Hospital while one of the two pub customers also shot in the attack, Austen Purcell (24), was described as "critical but stable" in the Mater Hospital.

According to Mr Cummins, Mr Barrett had been employed as a pub doorman for "a few years", but began working under a different company for the past two weeks.

"Wayne went out on Sunday night to do a night's work, not to be involved in something like that, not to cause problems for people," he told RTE's 'Liveline'.

"He was one of the nicest people you could meet.

"People will have an impression of the half-baked gorilla with the cauliflower ear and what have you, that worked doors. Wayne was nothing like that.


"He's a gentle giant and anyone who knows him knows that what I'm saying is correct, not what the press are inferring."

Meanwhile, a customer at the pub who was hit three times during the shooting has described how he waited "to hear footsteps and be finished off" as he lay wounded on the ground.

Brian Masterson (30) said he first heard a loud "pop" as his friend Austen was gunned down. Mr Masterson was discharged to his family home in East Wall in the city on Monday afternoon.

"I remember just being outside with Ossie (Austen), watching the screens showing the replays of the games, and then I heard the loud pop behind me."

As he was shot, Mr Masterson described the feeling of a "burning pain shooting through you".

"I was screaming at Ossie. I could only see his feet and I didn't know how he was. Then I heard him screaming. At least I knew he was alive then."

Irish Independent

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