Sunday 25 February 2018

Pub shooting was 'revenge' for murder

JIM CUSACK

Gardai believe that a young man shot dead in south inner-city Dublin was killed in retaliation for the murder of a youth on the banks of the Grand Canal three years ago.

Darren Cogan, 22, from Bluebell Avenue, was shot dead as he sat drinking in the Black Horse Inn, Inchicore, at 12.15am yesterday.

The gunmen apparently entered the pub, shouted "where's the rat?", left when they did not spot the victim, but returned later to shoot dead Cogan, who was still there with a friend.

His killing was yesterday being directly linked to the murder of Darren Guerrine, 21, who was gunned down by the group styling itself as the 'Real' IRA at Bluebell in February 2008.

The killing of Cogan yesterday is the second death to be connected to the murder of Guerrine.

In January, Guerrine's brother, Gavin, 21, was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for causing serious injury to Christopher O'Rourke, 22, in Bluebell.

O'Rourke, who suffered from depression, later committed suicide.

Gavin Guerrine pleaded guilty to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to O'Rourke on April 19, 2009. He believed O'Rourke was involved in his brother's murder.

The court heard that he saw O'Rourke at Huband Road and drove his car directly at him. The impact flung O'Rourke 20ft in the air.

O'Rourke spent four months in intensive care, including eight weeks in a coma, after he sustained a severe brain injury, fractures to the face and ribs, and a bad injury to his right knee.

When he was discharged, he moved to Newry to live with his mother, but suffered from depression and made two attempts to take his own life. He died last August, aged 25, from a drug overdose.

On Friday night, the latest victim was drinking with a friend, not linked in any way to the feud, in the Inchicore pub when two men, one armed with a shotgun and the other with a handgun, walked in at 11.20pm.

According to local sources one of the gunmen shouted: "Where's the rat?" as he pointed his weapon around the bar. They apparently failed to spot their target and left.

Then less than an hour later, a lone gunman re-entered the pub and shot both young men at close range. Cogan died at the scene and his friend was hit twice.

The injured man was described as being in "serious" but stable condition in St James's Hospital yesterday.

The three deaths appear to have sprung from a row between the 'Real' IRA in south inner-city Dublin and Darren Guerrine over a debt of money supposedly owed to the group for cocaine.

Guerrine's murder was ordered by another young man, then in Portlaoise Prison, who had the title of head of the group. Darren Guerrine was lured to waste ground on the banks of the canal and killed with a shotgun.

Detectives believe the killing was an attempt by the group to stamp its authority in the Bluebell-Dolphin's Barn area after Guerrine was seen as defying it over the alleged drug debt.

Shortly before Guerrine's murder, graffiti -- warnings to "drug dealers" by "RIRA" -- appeared in the area. Local people say this was cover for the dispute between what is effectively two sets of dealers.

The Real IRA in Dublin is heavily involved in drugs, extortion and racketeering. The group threatened to disrupt the Queen's visit last month but failed to muster any support. It is largely composed of young criminals and former IRA men using the name as a flag of legitimacy.

The so-called dissidents have killed at least five men in Dublin in the past 18 months, all for refusing to pay their extortion demands.

After a period of calm in the first four months this year, there has been a sharp upturn in gangland shootings. Five people have been shot dead in the past seven weeks.

Sunday Independent

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