Tom Brady: Latest killing unlikely to be last in complicated feud
A RETALIATORY strike by the dissident republican group the Real IRA was regarded as inevitable after the murder of the leader of their Dublin faction, Alan Ryan, last September.
The flamboyant terrorist liked to portray himself as a champion of the working-class districts of the capital, who toiled tirelessly to rid them of the scourge of drug traffickers.
In reality, he and his associates was putting the squeeze on the traffickers to pay the Real IRA a slice of the profits from their criminal activities as a form of republican 'tax'.
He focused on groups involved not only in drug dealing but also in extortion and racketeering, prising money from the owners of pubs and clubs in return for providing security on their premises.
Eamon Kelly was one of the gang leaders who was feeling the pinch from Ryan's onslaught on gangland finances. Together with two other crime figures, both based on the northside – although one had moved a couple of years ago to Co Cavan – they decided to fight back.
As tensions grew as a result of the feud, a hit was ordered on Ryan and he was gunned down as he walked with two friends not far from his home in Donaghmede.
The paramilitary display at Ryan's funeral, including the firing of a volley of shots, shocked the nation as it brought back street scenes that the public believed had ended with the demise of the Provisional IRA in the 1990s.
Garda intelligence quickly picked up strong indications that the Real IRA were carrying out their own inquiries into Ryan's murder and were bent on executing their own revenge.
Senior officers ordered a crackdown on the terrorists in the wake of the funeral display and so far this has proven to be a highly valuable exercise in collecting information about the make-up of the members on this side of the Border – including some men who had not previously been known to anti-terrorist officers.
The two other crime bosses went offside immediately after their names were circulated in dissident circles as "the enemy". But Kelly was a creature of habit and continued to frequent the pubs and betting offices near where he lived at Furry Park Road in Killester.
This made it easy for anybody waiting to ambush him.
But the background to yesterday's murder is a lot more complicated than a straightforward row between the criminals and the dissident terrorists.
The suspect captured after the shooting is allegedly part of a Real IRA faction based around Inchicore. His gang is alleged to have been involved in the murder of Darren Guerrine in the Bluebell area in 2008. Two suspects for that murder were released without charge by gardai yesterday after being arrested on Monday.
The suspect, like Ryan, had served time in Portlaoise Prison and the two had been allies in the past. However, he fell out with Ryan some months before the latter's murder.
LAST night, gardai were trying to establish if the Inchicore group were attempting to ingratiate themselves again with the Ryan faction in recent weeks or if the murder was motivated by their own feud with Kelly and his associates.
In the midst of that complex mix lies the emergence of a new terrorist alliance, which now includes the Real IRA.
Its leadership, which has a Northern Ireland influence, has made clear that it wants an end to the faction's involvement in feuding with criminal gangs in Dublin or elsewhere. Instead, it wants to focus exclusively on a terror campaign in Northern Ireland.
However it pans out, it looks likely that there will be more casualties before either some sort of settlement, or truce, has been worked out or the gardai put sufficient numbers of them behind bars.