TWO brothers who were run out of Ireland by Real IRA thugs are under 24/7 armed garda protection.
RIRA heavy Alan Ryan and associates led a campaign of intimidation against a bar-owner in north Dublin.
Brothers Stephen and Shane Simpson were forced to flee to Manchester after they were repeatedly threatened by members of the dissident republican group.
Stephen Simpson took out a 10-year lease on The Castle pub in Summerhill, in North Dublin in February and was looking forward to the new business venture before becoming embroiled in a gang war between the Real IRA and Dublin drug lords which forced him to flee to Manchester.
The Simpson family is now under constant garda protection. After a few weeks in business, the pub was doing well but was drawing the attention of the Real IRA.
"From the first day we opened, business was really good," he said. "We catered for both young and old and there was no trouble."
In the early hours of Sunday, March 12 three Real IRA thugs called to the pub.
"I was at the door closing at around 12.35am and was talking to a garda when the thugs walked up to me and asked could they get in," he said.
"I told them we were closed, but he said he wanted to get in to see who was downstairs.
"Three times I told him in front of the garda that we were closed and he couldn't get in.
"That is the first time I ever spoke to that man.
"When they walked away that garda even commented that they had some cheek."
The gang returned later that day and asked if they could see the CCTV footage from the bar after one of them had claimed that his son had been assaulted on the street outside the bar.
"I told them that the cameras didn't cover the area they were talking about and I brought them to the office where the CCTV system is kept," Stephen added.
"In the office they suddenly didn't want to know about the cameras. Instead they became very aggressive.
"He asked me who we were employing to do the security on the door and if I was fronting the place for someone.
"All three of them were getting heavy and crowded me in the room. He kept telling me that I better not open the following day."
"I just stood there in shock ,I couldn't believe these guys were telling me to shut down the business that I'd just opened."
Mr Simpson said the gang also accused him of fronting the pub for a notorious Ballymun criminal who was part of Eamonn 'the Don' Dunne's gang.
However, Mr Simpson denied he had any connection to that man other than they were both originally from Ballymun.
"They asked who I was fronting the place for and claimed it was for [the Ballymun criminal]. I didn't even know who they were talking about at first," he said. "But that was misinformation. I didn't know anything about that.
"[A member of Dunne's gang] did get in touch after to say I'd better make it clear there was no link between me and them. He's been warned his life is in danger as well."
CCTV footage from the bar confirmed that the Simpson brothers were being threatened by the men.
On Friday March 18, Stephen was driving his jeep at Constitution Hill when a dark BMW pulled up and the passenger in the car pointed a handgun at him.
The following day, detectives arrived to tell Stephen that his life was under threat and that he should take precautions.
After another visit from thugs last Thursday the brothers decided to shut the pub and flee the country for their own safety.