Gardaí searching for the killers of two men shot dead before their bodies were dumped on an island in a Co Cavan lake believe they were murdered on the day they went missing six weeks ago.
Detectives are working on the theory that Dubliners Eoin O'Connor (32) and Anthony Keegan (33) were the victims of a pre-planned murder trap when they went to Cavan to collect a drugs debt on April 22nd from a criminal in the area on behalf of a gang from Coolock, north Dublin.
Gardaí believe the men were shot dead on the afternoon or evening of April 22nd and their bodies disposed of on an island in Lough Sheelin on the Cavan-Meath border within 24 hours.
While the bodies were found on the island close to the lake shoreline at 4.30pm on Monday, detectives believe the remains had lain undiscovered there since the time of the men’s disappearance.
Gardaí believe the men were shot dead at another location, before their bodies were wrapped in tarpaulin, which was tied up using twine, brought to the lakeshore and across the short stretch of water for dumping on the island.
A house not far from where the bodies were found has been sealed off for technical examination and a boat has also been seized.
Despite having intelligence from the period immediately after the men disappeared, suggesting they had been shot and dumped in the Cavan- Meath region, the information from the criminal fraternity was not specific enough to pinpoint exact locations.
While areas in Westmeath, Meath and Cavan have been searched in recent weeks, the Garda was only brought to the island on Lough Sheelin when local people using the lake reported a smell and their suspicions that something was decomposing there.
Gardaí from Kells confirmed last night that the two bodies discovered were those of Mr O’Connor and Mr Keegan. They have begun a murder investigation but for operational reasons said the results of postmortems were not being disclosed.
Supt Sean Farrell of Kells said the investigating team was keen to speak to anybody fishing or sailing on the lake or walking on the shoreline on April 22nd or 23rd.
The men had travelled from Coolock on the day of their last known sighting in a grey Ford Focus, 04D46380. The vehicle was found at Lough Owel, Co Westmeath. Gardaí believe it was driven there in an effort to mislead the search.