Convicted drug dealer among four shot in Dublin

Three women shot in legs while smoking outside 21st birthday were ‘innocent bystanders’

Gardaí believe the intended target of a shooting in which four people were wounded, three of them women, is a well known drug dealer who has been investigated by a number of specialist Garda units in recent years.

Greg Lynch (28) is in critical condition after he was shot in the head while standing on the roadside at Hanlon’s Corner on the Old Cabra Rd in Dublin’s north inner city at 2.25am today.

The injured man had just come from a 21st birthday party and the three women he was with were also wounded.

The Irish Times understands the women suffered leg wounds and while their injuries are not life threatening the shooting of three people caught in the firing line of a gangland attack is unprecedented.

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The women are aged 19, 23 and 33 years old and like Lynch are from the south inner city.

One local resident who heard the shots said the incident did not sound like a short indiscriminate burst of gun fire.

“You could hear a shot and then a few seconds and then another one,” said the witness.

“It sounded odd at the time, the shots were definitely spaced out rather than ‘bang, bang, bang’ one after the other like you’d expect. It seemed methodical.”

The scene of the shooting remains sealed off today and while gardaí expect the three wounded women to make a full recovery, it is uncertain if Lynch will survive his injuries.

“He has a chance, but he is definitely in a bad way,” said one informed source.

Gardaí had warned him several times that his life was in danger and he was known to wear a bullet proof vest as a precaution.

A convicted drug dealer, Lynch has been involved in the drugs trade since he was a teenager and is still an active drug dealer. He has been a target of a number of specialist Garda units including the Organised Crime Unit and the Garda National Drug Unit.

Gardaí believe he is closely associated to Christy Kinahan, a convicted drug dealer from Dublin who runs what security sources in the UK and Ireland believe is one of the biggest supply operations of drugs into the British and Irish markets from his base in southern Spain.

Gardaí believe this morning’s attack was very well planned and that Lynch had been under surveillance by those who shot him. Detectives also believe the attackers had accurate information on his movements and were waiting for him.

While the probe into the shooting is still at an early stage, Garda believe the gunman was on foot when he opened fire on Lynch, wounding him in the head and jaw outside the well known Hanlon’s Public House.

The gunman fired a large number of shots, some of which wounded the women. Gardaí believe Lynch was the gunman’s only target and that the wounding of the women occurred simply because they happened to be with him when the would-be killer struck.

Immediately after the shooting the gunman got into a nearby BMW car driven by an accomplice and they escaped from the area at speed.

The emergency services were called and Lynch was taken to the Mater Hospital where his condition is described as critical. The women were taken to St James’s and Connolly Memorial Hospitals, and their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Lynch is from Oliver Bond House local authority flats complex in Dublin 8 in the south inner city but has had a recent address on the Marylands Estate, also in Dublin 8.

He spent three years in prison after he was caught when he was aged 19 years with heroin valued at €400,000. He has more than 40 previous convictions, though his conviction in relation to the drugs find is the most serious.

Gardaí believe he has tried to capitalise on the absence of many gang figures from the south inner city who have become caught up in a feud between gangs in the neighbouring Dublin suburbs of Crumlin and Drimnagh.

That feud between the two groupings goes back to the late 1990s and the key figures are either dead, in prison or have been forced to flee abroad.

Local Dublin City Council member Mary Fitzpatrick of Fianna Fáil said in a statement the incident had left the local community in shock and highlighted the need to protect local Garda resources.

“The shooting happened on one of the capital’s main streets outside a busy public house and close to many private homes,” she said.

“The area is heavily populated with young families and older people who are extremely upset by what has happened and now have serious concerns about community safety.”

She said there was no room for complacency when it comes to violent crime in the community.

“Dublin Central is served by dedicated and hardworking gardaí however they are stretched to capacity.”

She urged Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to ensure local gardaí are given all resources and support to investigate this shooting and bring the attackers to justice without delay.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times