| 9.8°C Dublin

I wasn't told to 'shut up', says priest confronted at funeral of Corballys

THE PRIEST who made a controversial reference to drugs at the funeral of the Corbally brothers did so to avoid a return to 'business as usual' in Ballyfermot.

Fr Seamus Ryan was confronted by a female mourner at the gangland double funeral last Saturday, after he made a reference to the "big bucks in the drugs trade" in his homily.

The respected local priest told the Herald today: "These two men had very calm, peaceful upbringings but drifted into a much, more dangerous world. They were led into a world of criminality and drugs.

He said: "I hoped to convey in the Mass that the mercy they didn't receive in their lives they received in death. I didn't want it to be a case that after all the grief and tears it was back to business as usual.

"The lady expressed concerns that I was dealing too much about drugs. It wasn't a case where she told me to shut up, she was gentle about it."

Fr Ryan added: "I hope that my words would inspire people to try and live better. During moments of tragedy people are more open to change.

"It's been very difficult for Kenneth's family, as he had only recently become a father again, with a four week old baby and three other young children.

"It's also been very difficult for Paul's son Calvin. I had the joy of meeting him and he's a lovely young lad."

Specialist gardai monitored the Corbally brothers for three weeks before their murders -- but were called off when the hits didn't occur.

According to reports, armed officers mounted surveillance operations on the Ballyfermot brothers for most of June, but the operations were stood down shortly before the brothers were shot dead last week, the Herald understands.

Gardai are trying to establish if the killers waited until the garda operation was stood down before making their move. Kenneth (32) and Paul Corbally (35), from Drumfinn Avenue in Ballyfermot, were gunned down in Clondalkin last Monday, in an attack which also injured a 14-year-old boy.

The teenager was shot three times and is now under garda protection after his mother said there was a threat to his life. The pair were notorious criminals from Ballyfermot and were involved in a dispute with another Ballyfermot criminal, in his 30s, for control of the drug trade in southwest Dublin.

Gardai notified them of three separate threats to their lives, which led to specialist units monitoring the pair. According to fresh reports, the pair were also feuding with their rival over the proceeds of a €250,000 ATM robbery at Mother Hubbards in Moyvalley, Co Kildare, last June.

The Corballys wanted a cut of the robbery, after the man carried out the raid without them. The three had worked on robberies previously, but the Moyvalley raid represented a split.

The split deepened last summer, leading to a violent street battle in the Parkwest industrial estate, in which an English pal of the Corballys, criminal Jason Martin (41), was murdered. This was followed by a murder attempt in Bluebell in April, in which the Corballys failed to kill their Ballyfermot rival. According to sources, there was a marked escalation in the threats following the Bluebell incident.

Gardai are continuing their probe into the double murder and armed officers patrolled Ballyfermot at the weekend, in the wake of the Corballys' funeral on Saturday morning.

See page 14


Privacy