Don's pal blames gardai over bid to kill him in pub

Claim: I got no warning of death threat, O'Reilly tells High Court

Ray Managh

A CLOSE friend of 'The Don' claims that he was shot because gardai did not warn him of a threat to his life.

Brian O'Reilly (41) -- shot and injured in a pub last August -- has demanded that the Minister for Justice set up an enquiry into a number of claims, including one that gardai withheld criminal intelligence from him.

"One can but wonder what the outcome might have been had I not been in a position to physically restrain my attackers and prevent the indiscriminate discharge of the weapons otherwise than in my direction," he told the High Court.

Mr O'Reilly was hit twice in the attack, on August 7 last at McDonough's pub in Bettystown, Co Meath.

The self-described 'businessman', originally from Ballymun, also alleged in the High Court that senior gardai were in collusion with crime journalists to set him up to be murdered and that officers concealed evidence of threats to his life.

Mr O'Reilly was a close friend of the late gang boss Eamon Dunne, known as the 'The Don', who was shot dead in Faussagh House in Cabra last April. He helped carry the coffin at Dunne's funeral.


Mr O'Reilly was granted leave this week to seek High Court orders directing the Minister for Justice to set up an inquiry.

Barrister Alan Toal, counsel for Mr O'Reilly, told the court his client believed gardai had unlawfully concealed criminal intelligence relating to threats on his life, thereby deliberately and recklessly exposing him to the risk of being shot.

He said the minister had powers under Section 42 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007 to direct an inquiry into such a matter of public concern relating to administration, practice, procedure and conduct of the gardai, relative to Mr O'Reilly.

Mr O'Reilly, of Northlands, Bettystown, Co Meath, was also granted leave to seek an injunction restraining gardai from passing on information to certain members of the print media.

He will also ask the High Court to grant an injunction restraining gardai from engaging in collusive conduct with journalists as it might expose him to risk of being shot.

He was also granted leave to seek a court order against the Garda Commissioner compelling him to fully investigate "the sources of repeated unlawful leaks by members of the force" to journalists.

Mr Toal said the minister had twice been advised by letter of Mr O'Reilly's belief that garda intelligence of death threats to him had deliberately been concealed from him and which had resulted in his shooting.

O'Reilly, in an affidavit, said that since a friend of his, Eamon Dunne, had been shot, he had become the target of considerable media speculation that he had taken over control of the drugs and crime organisation left vacant by Dunne's death.

"This is vehemently denied and has no basis in foundation or fact," he said. Certain factions of the media, from misinformation fed to them by gardai, believed otherwise and had set about a similar campaign of hype, sensationalism, invective and deceit as previously engaged in with Eamon Dunne before his death.

He said he could not, in the interests of himself, his wife and children, sit back and countenance what amounted to a deliberate and orchestrated campaign to ensure he was shot.

Mr O'Reilly said that on August 7, while in McDonough's in Bettystown, he had been confronted by two gunmen, who began shooting at him.

Newspapers said he had been advised by gardai of a threat to his life and the only way they could have known this was if the gardai had informed them.

He said he had never been advised by the gardai before the pub attack that his life was in danger. They had told him afterwards and for journalists to suggest otherwise was untrue.


He told the court that gardai continued to engage in a campaign of orchestrated adverse publicity about him. Particular articles referred to him as "The Dentist" based, it was alleged, on some form of fictional punishment he was supposed to have meted out.

Media assertions that he was now public enemy number one and next for shooting were examples of reckless journalism being currently engaged in with the active assistance of the gardai, he said.

He said the wrongly held beliefs and distorted perception of the gardai seemed to be that they were entitled to adjudicate upon the character of an individual and pronounce what amounted to a death sentence by inviting newspaper readers to believe that society would be better served by the elimination of one more scumbag.

He believed the gardai would continue to collude with certain members of the print media unless restrained by the court.

Judge Peart adjourned the proceedings until January 26.