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Feared gangster quizzed about botched city hit


Paul Rice

Paul Rice

Paul Rice

One of the capital's most notorious gangland figures has been arrested and questioned by gardai investigating a botched hit on a car dealer who has survived a number of attempts on his life.

Tallaght criminal Paul Rice (45) was arrested by detectives based in Rathfarnham Garda Station along with two of Rice's younger cronies as the investigation into the botched hit on car dealer Michael Frazer (34) in a pub car park in Firhouse continues.

Rice and one of his closest associates, who is a prominent GAA player, were released without charge on Sunday, five days after another suspected gang member was arrested in relation to the incident, which unfolded on August 1.

Files on the three Tallaght men, who are extremely well known to the gardai, will now be prepared for the DPP after they were questioned about firearms offences.

A source said: "The investigation into the incident is ongoing and gardai have gathered a large amount of CCTV and other evidence. There may be more arrests in the case."

It is understood that Frazer was lured to a meeting in the car park of a pub in Firhouse, Tallaght when a masked gunman walked up to his car and
then tried to open fire.

But the weapon jammed and Frazer rushed to nearby Tallaght Garda Station to report the incident.

A short time later, locals in the Allenton estate in Tallaght contacted gardai to report that two men, who were wearing balaclavas, were attempting to hijack cars after a getaway car used in the earlier incident was found burnt out.

A semi-automatic pistol was found in the partially destroyed car and this has been examined by garda technical experts.

Paul Rice is one of the country's most feared criminals, but his most serious conviction was when he was jailed for 10 years in July 1995, after pleading guilty to the robbery of a bank during which shots were fired.

He escaped on horseback after the hold-up and a security guard was kicked and beaten with a lump hammer.

Rice was arrested by gardai investigating a kidnap and torture incident at a house in Lucan in October, 2010.

He was also questioned last year about a gruesome gangland murder of a man whose body was found in the Dublin Mountains.

Rice and his mob have been trying to recoup cash that is owed to Christy Kinahan's international syndicate and this has led him to be in a bitter separate feud with a Drimnagh gangster.

It is not known why he is in dispute with Drimnagh man Michael Frazer, who was formerly a close pal of gangster 'Fat' Freddie Thompson.

Frazer has already survived two other attempted murders this year - one in Clondalkin last March when he was shot three times, and another incident earlier in the summer when the garda's Organised Crime Unit intercepted an assassination team in the South Circular Road area.

And nine days ago, Frazer caused a major security alert when he made a panicked call to gardai saying that he saw a man standing outside the Drimnagh house he was staying in wearing a balaclava.