MURDERED Alan Ryan’s gang have drawn up a hit-list of criminals they believe gunned down the Real IRA boss.
Ryan’s pals have been intimidating local drug dealers for information on the killing, the Herald can reveal.
The gang has now compiled a short-list of two prominent names they believe are behind the murder.
“The RIRA boys have been making their own inquiries with local drug dealers – it seems they have received a good level of co-operation there,” a source said.
The terror organisation has also drafted in a well-known dissident republican from Belfast to take over Ryan's duties. As an intensive garda investigation into the murder continues, senior sources have revealed that the Real IRA believes a number of north Dublin crime gangs clubbed together to kill Ryan.
“Two prominent names keep on coming up as being the gunman – both of these men are from the Coolock area and both have drug issues,” said a source.
“Gardai are satisfied that Ryan's killer was not a foreign national – that never seemed a likely scenario anyway,” the source added.
“One of the fellas being accused is in his 20s, the other is in his 40s.
“It is possible that they worked together on the job. Both of them have been in hiding since the murder.”
The new leader of the faction is aged in his late 20s and was a prominent mourner at Ryan's controversial paramilitary funeral, even though he did not carry the coffin.
He was a close associate of a man who was previously convicted of a dissident republican feud murder but cleared of the charge. The Court of Criminal Appeal in Dublin quashed the conviction in 2010.
He was previously involved with the Continuity IRA in the North but fled to Dublin in 2007 when that organisation |murdered two of its former members there.
Edwards Burns (36) was shot dead at the Bog Meadows nature reserve in Belfast around an hour before Joe Jones (38) was decapitated with a spade in an Ardoyne lane.
No one has been convicted of the horrific killings.
It is understood that the PSNI wants to question Ryan's successor about the two murders, which he denies having any knowledge of.
Alan Ryan – who was shot dead in broad daylight as he walked in Clongriffin on Monday, September 3 – had built up a fearsome underworld reputation for extorting money from some of Ireland's most dangerous drugs gangs.
Detectives have been working on the theory that a number of northside gangs came together to murder Ryan – who had been involved in a particularly bitter feud with the gang led by the so-called ‘Mr Big' of Irish crime.
There has been just one arrest so far in the murder investigation – a taxi driver aged in his 50s who was subsequently released without charge after being questioned for allegedly withholding information about the murder.