| 19.7°C Dublin

Pair who saw Ryan shot warned they are on gang hitlist

THE gangsters who had Alan Ryan murdered are now going after two of his pals, it has emerged. The two men who were with the terror boss when he was gunned down have been told of an active threat against their lives.

Aaron Nealis and Paul Stewart have both been formally warned by gardai that they are on a gangland hitlist. Nealis was shot in the leg during the gun attack while Stewart fled from the assassin. The two Sligo men are both members of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement and were often spotted in Ryan's company in the months before he was murdered in Clongriffin, north Dublin, on September 3.

Detectives have been working on the theory that a number of northside gangs clubbed together to murder Ryan. Sources say that the death threat against the two men comes from the same gangsters. RIRA thug Ryan had been involved in a bitter feud with the gang led by the so-called ‘Mr Big'.

This feared crime boss, and his gang of dealers and Tiger kidnappers, have been at war with Ryan's faction since an assault at a north Dublin nightclub over the Christmas period.

A source said: "We are satisfied that the threat against these men is coming from organised criminals based in the Coolock area, and not from their own locality in Co Sligo.


"Information of a very serious nature has come in and these men have been given security advice."

Aaron Nealis -- who has a number of convictions for minor offences -- is still recovering from serious leg injuries and is understood to have undergone a couple of operations.

Last week RTE was criticised by Justice Minister Alan Shatter for allowing Paul Stewart to speak at length on the Liveline programme.

During the programme, Mr Stewart suggested that gardai had been complicit in the murder, claiming that officers had failed to arrive quickly at the scene, even though Ryan had been under constant surveillance.

Mr Stewart, a qualified teacher, admitted to RTE Radio One's Liveline programme that he was a member of the 32CSM, but denied being involved in any paramilitary activity.

He revealed that he had refused to help gardai who are investigating the murder.

"I have no real interest in talking to them about what happened. I don't see any real merit in [cooperating with the investigation]. I don't think the gardai have any real interest in catching who did this," he said.

Mr Stewart claimed gardai had failed to respond quickly to the attack, suggesting it was almost 15 minutes before they arrived on the scene, while some Special Branch members were seen "laughing and joking" about the murder.

He said that, while Ryan had been "nearly under 24-hour surveillance" by detectives, his killer had "somehow managed to evade the gardai".


"Alan knew there were people out to get him. It's shocking that he was killed, but it is not entirely surprising," he said.

"I find it very hard to believe that gardai didn't know what was happening and that they didn't see him being killed."