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Poverty, Sex and crime - Cahill's manic life led HIM to an early grave

THE General's life followed a trajectory that led from a desperately poor upbringing, to a career of violent crime and an ultimate early grave.

Martin Cahill was born to poverty in 1949, the second child of Agnes and father Patrick who lived in Dublin's inner city.

Patrick worked as a labourer and would frequently come home drunk - behaviour that influenced Cahill to remain alcohol-free for his adult life.

It has been claimed that seeing his father work hard and still struggle to provide for his family influenced Cahill's decision to pursue a life of crime.

The young criminal, known for his outlandish outbursts, married Frances Lawless when she was just 16.

He was also involved in a relationship with her sister Tina, and he fathered nine children with both women - five with Frances and four with her sister. Frances has previously spoken about how the three would share a bed on occasion.

"It is a strange subject. It is just something that we never discuss in front of anyone else. I know they made it out like we shared the bed with Martin all the time. It wasn't like that," she said.


Frances has spoken about how she and Tina dressed identically and sported the same hairstyles.

In 2007, the gangster's daughter, also named Frances, released a book in which she claimed that he was a strict father who never raised a hand to his children.

She described her parents as a "happy couple" who rarely fought and remembered her dad kissing her goodnight then leaving their house with his gloves and torch to raid the homes of other sleeping families.

In her book, she also claimed that Cahill once prevented the kidnapping of one of Bono's children.

The claim, which was challenged by one garda who investigated Cahill, was that he stopped a plan to kidnap Bono's daughter Jordan and hold her to ransom for €6m.

Cahill's criminal pedigree is still as relevant today as it was 20 years ago. 'The General' was the uncle of notorious criminal Alan Wilson who was cleared last month of the gruesome murder of Marioara Rostas.

Wilson is serving a seven-year sentence imposed for his role in a meat cleaver attack.

Alan's dad John Cahill is the older brother of The General and John was a key member of his brother's armed robbery mob in the 1970s and 1980s.

However it is understood that John has now turned his back on crime.