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Murder suspect has security work licence

TEN people arrested over the murder of Sean Winters have been released -- as it emerged that one of the key suspects in the case is a convicted criminal who hold a security licence.

The licence holder is a member of the dissident republican gang run by two brothers, which is suspected of murdering drug dealer Winters in Portmarnock last Sunday.

The man, in his mid 30s, is not one of the 10 suspects arrested on Sunday night, but is closely linked to a 30-year-old dissident, one of the brothers, who was questioned over the attack.

He managed to obtain the licence from the Private Security Authority, despite the fact that he has a serious criminal conviction.

Family

Both men are members of the north Dublin gang ran by two members of the Continuity IRA who were thrown out, but later readmitted.

The ten suspects arrested on Sunday night in relation to the Winters killing, including seven men and one woman, were released without charge late last night. Four of those released from custody were members of the same family.

A file has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will determine if criminal charges are to be brought. Further arrests are expected. The republican gang is heavily involved in violence surrounding the control of pub door security in Dublin city and the extortion of large amounts of money from individuals in north Dublin.

Sources have told the Herald that slain Eamonn 'The Don' Dunne, close pal Brian O'Reilly and other Dublin crime figures -- including the Don's mentor Eamonn Kelly (61) and a leading west Dublin drug trafficker in his 30s -- have been targeted by the gang.

Kelly is understood to have been the latest figure singled out by the gang after he made a miraculous escape from an attempted murder attempt at his home in Killester last Saturday morning

Kelly (61) managed to chase a gunman from his home after his handgun jammed at the vital moment.

It is understood that both men were told to fork out €50,000 or be killed. A large scale murder operation involving up to 70 gardai is now investigating the execution-style killing of dealer Winters (40).

Gardai are investigating whether Winters was murdered because he refused to pay the gang money to sell drugs in pubs and clubs they control or if the gang had tried to extort drug money from him.

Violence

Tensions remain at fever pitch in Dublin's underworld today amid fears of further violence on the city's northside.

Winters was shot twice in the head outside the Links apartments next to Portmarnock Dart Station at 10.20pm on Sunday.

Within hours of the killing, ten suspects were arrested by gardai and were placed in custody at a variety of different stations across Dublin.

Six of the suspects, including four members of the same family and a 30-year-old dissident republican, who has served two jail sentences for his Real IRA activities in the past decade, were detained in a garda swoop on a house in Clarehall.

It is understood that most of the occupants of the house had been socialising in Balbriggan on Sunday evening.

The other four were arrested when armed officers intercepted a suspect car. All have subsequently been released.

Winters had been lying low since two of his associates, David Lindsay (38) and Alan Napper (39), from Baldoyle, Co Dublin, disappeared from Clane, co Kildare in July 2008.

Winters was a member of a drugs crime gang based in the Donaghmede and Baldoyle areas, which is heavily involved in drug trafficking.

He was also a cousin of Noel Deans (27) who was shot dead in Coolock in January.


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