Tuesday 16 January 2018

Shooting victim received warning from gardai

Paul Cullen: shot six times
Paul Cullen: shot six times
Gardai investigate the shooting at the Cabra House pub in Cabra, Dublin

Tom Brady, Luke Byrne and Allison Bray

The victim of a fatal gangland attack had received a formal warning from gardai that his life was in immediate danger.

Criminal Paul Cullen was shot six times last night as he sat drinking with his disabled father.

Cullen (26) received three bullets to the head at the Cabra House pub on Fassaugh Avenue in Cabra, Dublin 7.

A masked man burst into the public house in front of terrified patrons at the venue also knows as the Oasis and fired numerous shots at the target.

The gunman then fled the scene and jumped on the back of a waiting motorbike, which was driven by a second man in the direction of the city centre.

It has been speculated today that he was killed over a drug debt dating back as far as 2007.

People in the area said there was pandemonium after the shooting, with terrified patrons fleeing from the pub.

The emergency services were called but Mr Cullen died at the scene.

The pub was sealed off and last night the garda technical bureau continued to carry out an examination of the area today.

Mr Cullen -- who grew up on Fassaugh Avenue, near the pub -- was a father of one young daughter, who is in third class. She was playing at a friend's house at the time of the shooting.

 “This was a definite hit, they sure he was there and they were definite there would be no recovery,” said a garda source. “He was shot a number of times up close.”

Two years ago a 23-year-old was also shot in the shoulder during a lunch time gun attack in the Cabra House pub.

Paul Cullen was well known to gardai and had a number of convictions.

In November 2008, Cullen appeared in court along with his cousin, Carl Cullen (20), of Dingle Road, Cabra.

The two were given custodial sentences for attacking a female garda whilst she was arresting another youth.

At the time of the court appearance Cullen was serving a six-year sentence which had been imposed in February of that year for storing almost €56,000 of cannabis resin.

He was storing the drugs to clear drug debts as he was in fear of his life after receiving a bullet in the post.

The two pleaded guilty to assaulting Garda Amanda Lynch on November 30, 2007. Paul Cullen also pleaded guilty to taking possession of an official garda weapon.

Judge Katherine Delahunt imposed a three-year sentence with the final 18 months suspended on Cullen, consecutive to the six-year sentence he began earlier this year for the drugs offence.

The court had heard that Paul Cullen took Gda Lynch's weapon and kicked her in the stomach, while Carl Cullen hit her on the head as she was attempting to arrest another youth.

Both Cullens were arrested and expressed remorse for the incident when interviewed.

Slashed

Paul Cullen appeared in court again last July after he was accused of getting into his girlfriend's house and slashing her television and couch with a kitchen knife while wearing latex gloves.

He was arrested after gardai were called to the scene in the early hours of the morning and charged with trespassing and causing damage.

He was granted bail at the court hearing on the condition that he stayed away from the alleged victim and her home.

Last night one of Cullen's relatives said the family were "in bits" over the shooting. Sources said last night that the fatal shooting may be linked to a falling out Paul Cullen had with a close associate.

His shooting dead is the fifth fatal gun attack so far this year, including the murder of Detective Adrian Donohue during a raid on a credit union on January 20.

Last night local councillors said they were appalled by the latest brazen shooting to occur in the area.

In April 2010, major criminal Eamonn Dunne was shot dead in the nearby Fassaugh House in Cabra as he attended a birthday party.

Sinn Fein councillor Seamus McGratton, whose constituency office is located near The Cabra House, said the pub is located on a stretch of road surrounded by shops and take-aways that would have been very busy on a Sunday night.

Gardai investigating the crime today appealed to the public for their assistance.

A statement read: “Gardai would like to speak to patrons who may have been in the Cabra House on Faussaugh before or at the time of the shooting. In addition they would like to speak to anyone that may have been on Fassaugh Avenue around the time of the shooting and seen anything unusual or suspicious.

“Gardai are particularly keen to talk to anyone that may have seen a dark coloured medium sized motorcycle with a driver and a pillion passenger dressed in dark clothing, in and around Fassaugh Avenue at the time of the shooting or driving erratically near Fassaugh Avenue before of after the shooting. The driver of the motorcycle is believed to have waited outside the Cabra House while the gunman entered.”

Anyone with information or who can assist is asked to contact Cabra Garda Station on 01 6667432 , The Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

Irish Independent

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