Gardaí warn of generational shift in gangs as violence worsens

Young criminals are now vying for position in Dublin’s drugs trade, leading garda warns

Superintendent Tony Twomey addressed the media at the scene of a fatal shooting that took place at Rowans Little, Walshtown, Co Dublin. Video: Colin Keegan /Collins


Gardaí have moved against feuding criminals in counties Louth and Dublin in a series of raids as one of the most senior officers in the force warned of a generational shift under way in organised gangs.

Assistant Garda Commissioner Pat Leahy said young criminals were now vying for position in Dublin’s drugs trade as they competed to replace Kinahan cartel members who have been jailed or fled the Republic.

In the wake of the murders of minor drug dealers Sean Little (22) and Jordan Davis (22) this week, Mr Leahy warned that even peripheral involvement in the drugs trade now carried with it the risk of being shot dead.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Garda had “unprecedented resources” to tackle armed and organised crime. However, the problem was “not something that ever goes away”.

Gardaí now believe the man who killed Mr Davis close to his home in Darndale, north Dublin, on Wednesday was cycling around the area looking for him in the days before the murder.

Man on a red mountain bike

They are keen to speak to anyone who saw a man on a red mountain bike in the area. The killer cycled up to Mr Davis and shot him in the head as he wheeled his infant son, born in January, in a buggy.

Anna Quigley, co-ordinator of the Citywide Drugs Campaign, said young men involved in drug dealing were not “unreachable” given the right interventions. But drug dealing was now so endemic in some communities it was “part of the local economy”.

Amid worsening gangland violence in several parts of Dublin and in Drogheda, Co Louth, Garda teams on Thursday carried out a series of raids.

In the Drogheda Garda district, 18 people were arrested, mostly on foot of outstanding warrants, and 34 addresses searched.

As part of the same day of action, seven vehicles were seized, two men were arrested on suspicion of feud-related incidents in recent weeks and one woman was arrested relating to alleged public disorder.

In Dublin the Criminal Assets Bureau, searched a property valued at more than €1 million and seized two Breitling watches as part of an investigation linked to the Kinahan cartel. Gardaí are trying to establish who owns the house that its officers searched in Saggart.

They suspect a man linked to gang leader Daniel Kinahan had been living at the property and had been managing a sports promotions company on behalf of Kinahan.

As well as the Drogheda feud and the Kinahan-Hutch feud, which has claimed the lives of 18 people to date, gardaí are also concerned about worsening gun feuds in Finglas and Mulhuddart, both in Dublin.

Shot dead

Mr Little was a friend of Zach Parker (23) who was shot dead in Swords, north County Dublin, in January by one of the gangs involved in the Finglas feud. Gardaí believe the same gang shot Mr Little because they feared he wanted to avenge his friend’s murder.

While the motive for the killing for Mr Davis is less clear, gardaí believe he was shot by another drugs gang over an unpaid drugs debt.

In reply to questions about a video on social media purporting to show both Mr Little and Mr Davis recently vandalising a car in an apparent attack over a drugs debt, gardaí said the video would be examined like all possible leads in the murder investigations.