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'Fat' Freddie's cousin avoids trial over bomb

A CLOSE associate and first cousin of gangster 'Fat' Freddie Thompson will not be charged after a special garda operation in which detectives seized a viable pipe bomb and ammunition.

Liam Brannigan – a well known criminal from south inner city Dublin – was arrested by the Organised Crime Unit.

He was travelling in a car behind a vehicle in which the bomb and bullets were found.

On Friday, Dublin Circuit Court heard that, as a result of a Supreme Court ruling, the warrant used by gardai during his arrest was unconstitutional.


The court hearing related to the seizure of a pipe bomb and six shotgun shells at Ballyfermot Road, Dublin on July 18, 2011 following a major surveillance operation.

The haul was destined for 'Fat' Freddie's drugs gang, but gardai do not know who the intended targets were.

Liam Brannigan, from Bride Street, is one of Thompson's most trusted associates, with the two men having grown up together in the south inner city.

In 2007, Brannigan was given a two-year suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Court after he was caught in possession of a "golf ball" of cocaine.

Brannigan had denied that he was in possession of the drugs when the Garda National Drugs Unit raided a house in the city. He was standing in a second bedroom when gardai discovered the cocaine.

On that occasion, his drug addict father, John Brannigan (50), tried to convince the court that the drugs were his, but the jury did not believe him.

John Brannigan is serving combined jail sentences of 12 years for drug dealing and possession of a stolen motorbike.

At Friday's hearing, a man whom senior sources have described as a Thompson gang 'lackey' learned that he faces a minimum of five years when he is sentenced next month.


Joseph Kelly (32) was driving in front of Brannigan when he was stopped.

The Army bomb disposal team was called and the bomb was taken away to be defused.

Judge Desmond Hogan adjourned sentencing until June 7. Heroin addict Kelly, of Kilworth Road, Drimnagh, had pleaded not guilty, but was convicted after a jury trial.

The court heard he had become involved in the operation to pay off a drug debt.

Kelly was not the 'mastermind' of the operation and was being led by others, his legal team argued.

Kelly has 60 previous convictions and is serving a two-year sentence for robbery.

He was on bail for these offences when he was caught with the bomb. Since 1996, Kelly has only spent two years out of prison.

Detective Garda Jonathon O'Leary of the Organised Crime Unit said that he was part of a surveillance operation that saw Kelly being picked up from his home in a car that then drove around the city.

Kelly was later seen driving a van in convoy with a vehicle being driven by Brannigan.

In Ballyfermot, the garda team received orders to pull the convoy over and the bomb and ammunition was found in a shopping bag.