SUSPECTED gangland killer Mark ‘Guinea Pig' Desmond is being targeted by the Real IRA.The ruthless dissidents – who have a Dublin base in the Donaghmede area – have named Desmond as a target in a newly issued statement.
The group warned: “Mark Desmond needs to be aware that we mean business. If [he] takes us on there will only be one winner. “We're going after so-called untouchable drug dealers because we won't stand by and let them make millions from feeding heroin to kids,” the RIRA said.
Gardai are treating the statement as a “serious statement of intent”, and are anticipating gun attacks on foot of the threat – either on Desmond’s life or that of the key Real IRA figures in the city.
Notorious gangster Desmond is suspected of involvement in three separate murders in the capital. A source told the Herald that 35-year-old Desmond is also likely be officially notified about the threat.
The Ballyfermot man -- who moves between safe houses in west Dublin and Co Kildare -- is being investigated over the disappearance last October of young Dubliner James Kenny McDonagh.
The RIRA has already claimed responsibility for the murders of Collie Owens (34) and drug dealer Sean Winters (40) in Dublin within the past six months. They also murdered Cork drug dealer Gerard 'Topper' Staunton (42), in January 2010 and Derry man Kieran Doherty (31) a month later.
"We were responsible for taking four people out in the last year, but we have other targets in our sights," a spokesperson for the dissidents has said. The statement then names 'Guinea Pig' Desmond.
The Herald understands that -- despite the RIRA's anti-drug rhetoric -- Desmond is being targeted after one of his associates became a chief suspect in the murder of a hitman used by the republican mob. A source told the Herald that the threats were credible.
"These guys mean business, this time last year very few people were aware of the influence of the RIRA but they have become major players in Dublin's underworld," the source said.
"The dissidents are ruthless and have no qualms about using extreme violence to exert their influence.
"They claim to be trying to rid the streets of dealers but they're really running extortion rackets to raise money for themselves and their terror campaign in the North."
The Real IRA has been engaged in recruitment drives in working class areas of Dublin and provincial towns as they try to bolster their numbers.
Desmond -- nicknamed 'Guinea Pig -- is one of the most despised criminals in the capital's underworld.
He is being investigated over the disappearance and suspected murder of a man from Islandbridge, James Kenny McDonagh.
Mr Kenny McDonagh has been missing since Wednesday, October 27.
It is feared that he was kidnapped, tortured and then murdered before his body was buried or dumped. Desmond is the chief suspect in the murder.
He has also been the longtime suspect for the murder of two young men whose bodies were dumped in the Grand Canal in 2000. One of the men murdered in 2000, Darren Carey, was a neighbour of Mr Kenny McDonagh.