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'Guinea Pig' in brutal new RIRA drugs feud


Mark 'Guinea Pig' Desmond

Mark 'Guinea Pig' Desmond

Barry Young

Barry Young


Mark 'Guinea Pig' Desmond

Detectives fear a potential bloodbath after a feud ignited between a gang linked to the 'Guinea Pig' and a dissident Republican group.

The Herald has learned that Dublin gangster Mark Desmond, nicknamed the 'Guinea Pig' has been acting as a "heavy" for a mob who control drug dealing in the north west of the country and source their drugs from a Dublin gang.

Subsequently, this has brought Desmond – who sources say has been working for convicted local drugs dealer Barry Young – into direct confrontation with a crew who are led by Aaron Nealis.

Nealis suffered serious leg injuries when he was shot as he walked with Alan Ryan, the RIRA chief – murdered in September 2012. Nealis’ group claims to be anti-drug dealing vigilantes.

The tense feud is being played out in Sligo town and is so serious that the heavily-armed special detective unit is constantly monitoring the situation.

This has been brewing for many months now but it looks like it might come to a head very shortly.

Barry Young and his crowd have been constantly in bother with Aaron Nealis and his people but things took a different dimension when Mark Desmond started getting involved.

"For one thing, local dealers that might have owed Young money but were stalling on paying him suddenly were able to cough up when Desmond arrived at his side. That is for sure - everyone is terrified of him."

Barry Young (31), originally from Geldof Drive, Cranmore, Sligo, received a six-year sentence after pleading guilty in relation to a €21,000 cannabis resin seizure at a graveyard in March 2006.

A team of seven gardai busted Young and another man in the remote Kilmacowen graveyard, where they were caught with drugs with an estimated street value of €20,853.


Young admitted his involvement under questioning and accepted full responsibility for the drugs.

After being released from jail, Young has continued to be involved in serious drug dealing and this has brought him into direct confrontation with the IRA, according to sources.

However Young and his mob are fighting back and with Mark Desmond involved in debt collection and "protection" for them, the dissident Republicans are now under serious pressure from the dealers.

"Individuals have been seen in the vicinity of the homes of these so-called Republicans, staking these properties out.

"Nothing has happened yet and gardai are on top of it as much as they can be but this is a serious situation, make no mistake about that," a source said.

Mark Desmond is notorious in Dublin's underworld and is suspected of murdering two young men and dumping their bodies in the Grand Canal in 2000.

Dubbed the 'Guinea Pig'. Desmond was the only man to have been charged in the notorious 2000 'canal murders' investigation.


Both young men in the canal murders were shot in drug-related killings and their bodies dumped in the Grand Canal at Karneystown, Co Kildare, between December 19, 1999, and January 10, 2000.

The murder charges were dropped by the Director for Public Prosecutions and the Court of Criminal Appeal later overturned Desmond's conviction and eight-year sentence on a charge of unlawful possession of firearms with intent to endanger life.