Court hears of great-granny's family of crime

By Ken Foy

A tangled web of gangland family connections has been revealed in a court case in which a great-grandmother escaped jail for storing €52,000 of cannabis and more than €91,000 in illicit cash at her home.

But while Julie Nugent (63) was given a four-year suspended prison sentence for the offence, her daughter, Marcia Russell (42), was not so lucky and was jailed for a total of two years at Dublin Circuit Court this week for her role in the crime which was uncovered by the gardai's Organised Crime Unit in November, 2012.


Senior sources have revealed that before she was busted, Marcia had been working as a "runner and facilitator" for the 'Mr Big' drugs gang which murdered Real IRA terror chief Alan Ryan.

Two months later, detectives made their big breakthrough when they raided a house at Clonshaugh, north Dublin and arrested the middle-aged women.

The Herald can reveal that the family background of Marcia and her mother Julie has been blighted with death and mayhem which marks them as victims of the culture of organised crime on the northside of the capital.

A source pointed out: "These women have seen so much death in their lives that they should have thought better of getting involved in this culture at such a high level".

Julie lost her son and Marcia lost her brother, Anthony (30), when he was gunned down at the Ardlea Inn, Artane, in April, 2008 as a direct result of a bitter feud that he was involved in.

Anthony was shot eight times by two masked gunmen in the packed bar just hours after gardai had called to his home to warn him that there was a threat on his life - just one of a number of official warnings that he had received as a result of his involvement in a bitter north inner city feud.

At the time that her brother was murdered, Marcia Russell was involved in a long-time relationship with Christy Gilroy, who was one of the most active and reckless gangland criminals to operate in the capital.

Nothing has been heard of Gilroy, who was aged 36 at the time, since his suspected involvement in the gun murders of Michael 'Roly' Cronin (35) and James Maloney (26) at Summerhill in Dublin's north inner city in January 2009.

Gardai believe Gilroy, a heroin addict and a member of an armed robbery gang, was murdered in Spain less than a month after the two criminals were executed by him as they sat in a car.


Marcia Russell and Gilroy had one child together, a teenage boy, and this week Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that her partner is missing and believed to have been murdered by gangland criminals.

But it is not just the murders of her partner and younger brother that should have been a clear warning to Marcia Russell.

Her older brother is well known criminal Dean Russell (44), who has survived a number of assassination attempts because of his involvement in organised crime.

Last November, the Criminal Assets Bureau secured freezing orders from the High Court over three properties belonging to Dean in Spain, Santry and Clonshaugh.