Dublin City Council was paying "security" or protection money to the leader of a Dublin drugs gang, and also to a man who was connected to three murders, the High Court has heard.
The court was also told on Tuesday that two council workers suggested to construction companies they use the services of the two criminals.
In an action by the Criminal Assets Bureau against Derek "Dee Dee" O'Driscoll (46), Meagans Lane, Crooksling, Saggart, Co Dublin, and David Reilly (36), Croftgrove, Ballyfermot, Dublin, Ms Justice Carmel Stewart granted orders seizing assets of almost €300,000.
Most of the amount was cash in bank accounts linked to O'Driscoll and Reilly as well as a mobile home in Co Wexford and a "classic horsebox", which the court agreed were the proceeds of crime.
Cab claimed the two men had a number of income streams including drug dealing in Ballyfermot and other parts of Dublin, organised burglaries, tax offences and extortion; all of which paid for lavish lifestyles including foreign holidays in Ibiza, Florida and other places.
O’Driscoll is a drugs gang leader originally from Ballyfermot with 20 convictions. He was also once found keeping a female jaguar and an African serval in his garage in Ballyfermot. The court was told Reilly ran O’Driscoll’s drugs business across a number of housing estates in Ballyfermot and has been linked to three murders, though he denies any involvement.
Benedict Ó Floinn SC, on behalf of Cab, said: “The court could ask itself what is going on in this city when not only construction companies but Dublin City Council” was paying men like O’Driscoll and Reilly so that “desperately needed housing could be built”.
During the investigation of the extortion, three construction sites were identified: Adston Ltd on the junction of Cherry Orchard drive and avenue; MDY Construction Ltd on the junction of Blackditch Road and Orchard Lawns; ABM Design and Build, which had a site at Elmdale Drive.
The High Court was told that “an official of Dublin City Council” informed Adston that the council had employed O’Driscoll and Reilly to carry out “fence maintenance” at its site in the area. Adston was informed that if they paid the two men “no problems of an anti-social nature” would occur at its rapid build housing site.
Adston told Cab they paid €1,500 plus VAT per week to both Reilly and O’Driscoll and the company “considered this to be for protection”.
The High Court heard that the “fence maintenance” service O’Driscoll and Reilly were offering was “a fiction” and no such service existed. Instead, the court heard, they directed the anti-social behaviour and when weekly payments to them were commenced, the violence stopped.
A building inspector with Dublin City Council, JJ McKeon, told Cab when he had asked local youths “who could solve this problem” of anti-social behaviour on a site where he worked in Cherry Orchard, within 30 minutes he was met by David Reilly who assured him he could stop the criminal damage.
Mr McKeon, the High Court was told, later introduced Eugene Toolis of Westside Engineering, also working in Cherry Orchard, to David Reilly. Mr McKeon told Mr Toolis that "security costs" would have to be paid to Reilly; cash at €1,200 per week. This could then be reclaimed back from the council, with nine such payments eventually made.
MDY Construction Ltd was also approached by O’Driscoll and Reilly about providing “security” at its site in Cherry Orchard. The company initially declined.
However, stolen cars were then driven into the perimeter fence of the site, a Portacabin was burnt out and a digger was set alight after petrol was thrown on it while it was in use. The driver was hit by a brick and broke his ribs as he ran from the vehicle when it was set alight. Safety fears then brought work to a halt at the site, in December 2016.
When the “fence maintenance” services of Reilly and O’Driscoll were engaged in early 2017 the anti-social behaviour stopped.
The High Court was told the phone number of Reilly was supplied to MDY Construction by a Dublin City Council worker based in Cherry Orchard named in court as David Byrne, who retired from the council in 2017.