Dublin gun victim now in tenth year in vegetative state

Robert Delaney shot in head by IRA-linked gunmen after intervening in row at pub

Seeking cold case review: Terry and Noeleen Delaney, with their grand-daughter Megan Delaney (16), whose father Robert Delaney has been in a permanent vegetative state for nearly 10 years. Photograph: Dave Meehan

The family of a man who has been in a permanent vegetative state for nearly 10 years after being shot in the head has called for a Garda cold case review of the crime.

They hope people who were afraid to help gardaí at the time will feel able to do so now because the suspects have lost their republican connections.

Postman Robert Delaney was 27 when he was shot at his home in Tallaght in west Dublin in October 2008.

The father of two, who had no involvement in crime, was targeted after he intervened to save a man being beaten outside a Dublin pub two months earlier.


The men suspected of organising and paying for the shooting had strong links with the IRA and dissident republicans. However, they have been shunned by the republican movement since the attack on Robert Delaney.

The injured man's parents, Terry and Noeleen Delaney, believe a Garda cold case review might turn up crucial information which was not forthcoming at the time because people were afraid of the suspects.

Paramilitary support

"[The suspects] went to Belfast and they were told to leave and not come back," Mr Delaney snr told The Irish Times. "And now there is not the same fear around them because they no longer have that paramilitary support."

Nobody was ever charged in connection with the attack.

However, nearly 10 years later, Mr Delaney believes “the fear – or even status as some would see it – that the suspects had over people is gone”.

Robert Delaney, whose daughters Katie and Megan were 2 and 7 when he was shot, is a patient in the brain injury unit in Peamount Hospital in west Co Dublin. He does not need a life-support machine but he has no brain function and has no prospect of making a recovery.

“He’s in a bed and you’d just think he was asleep if you saw him. He could live for at least 20 more years like that,” said his father.

The gunman who shot him, Daniel Gaynor from Dublin, carried out shootings for money. Gardaí believe he was paid €10,000 to shoot Robert Delaney.

Gaynor was shot dead in Finglas in north Dublin in August 2010. A number of crime gangs co-operated to kill him because he had worked as a killer for the Real IRA.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times