Ballymun man arrested for firing gun is significant gangland criminal

Suspect is a member of a criminal faction involved in a feud

Gardaí in the Poppintree area of Ballymun, Dublin, where the shooting incident took place on Monday afternoon. Photograph:  Garrett White/Collins Agency

Gardaí in the Poppintree area of Ballymun, Dublin, where the shooting incident took place on Monday afternoon. Photograph: Garrett White/Collins Agency

 

A man who was arrested for carrying and firing a loaded gun in suburban Dublin is a significant gangland criminal involved in a gun feud.

The suspect, from Ballymun, north Dublin, is a member of a criminal faction involved in a feud that has to date claimed four lives.

He survived an attempt on his life in recent years and has been a target of the Garda for gun and drug crime for more than two decades. He is in his late 30s.

Gardaí believe he was under the influence of drugs on Monday when he appeared on the streets of Poppintree, Ballymun, with a submachine gun.

Locals alerted gardaí who responded immediately as people filmed the suspect with the firearm walking around Poppintree.

Unarmed gardaí spotted the man who fired a number of shots, apparently indiscriminately rather than in the direction of the gardaí, and was overpowered and arrested.

Garda sources have confirmed that shots were fired by the suspect before the unarmed gardaí restrained the suspect after pursuing him into a house.

A follow-up search yielded a submachine gun and a live hand grenade, which the Army’s bomb disposal team were called in to make safe.

One senior Garda source said while the incident was “very scary” for the community, it was a highly unusual event and one that was brought to a successful conclusion very quickly.

“It doesn’t seem he was actually targeting anyone with the gun but the uniform [Garda] members responded really well and closed down something that clearly could have gotten a lot worse,” said the Garda source.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris echoed those sentiments, praising the bravery and commitment to public service shown by the gardaí involved.

“The gardaí involved showed great bravery in ensuring the safety of the public,” he said.

Feuding faction

The suspect has already lost two close associates to gun violence as part of a feud that began five years ago.

However, in more recent times that feud has seen tensions and violent attacks increase and it now involves some of the criminals who are also involved in the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

The suspect arrested yesterday is part of a faction feuding with Hutch family associates over a series of tit-for-tat shootings between north Dublin criminals that left one man dead five years ago.

That dispute has also involved pipe bomb attacks and non-fatal shootings as well as four murders. Gardaí believe the man arrested yesterday has enlisted the help of Dublin INLA figures to aid him in the feud.

He has convictions for armed robbery and drive-by shootings and has spent about half of his adult life in prison, mostly for gun crime.

Aside from the feud he is embroiled in with Hutch family associates, he has also been involved in a very acrimonious dispute with other criminals from Ballymun. And while that row began over a very minor matter, several gun attacks have been carried out because of it.

After the man was arrested yesterday the house was sealed off for technical examination. The suspect was arrested under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act. He was being detained at Ballymun and can be questioned for up to 72 hours without charge.