Man (39) shot dead in Co Meath was regarded as senior gang figure

Richard Carberry, a married father of three, was associated with one faction in the Drogheda feud

The suspected getaway vehicle pictured on Eastham Road, Bettystown, Co. Meath which gardaí suspect was used in the fatal shooting. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

The suspected getaway vehicle pictured on Eastham Road, Bettystown, Co. Meath which gardaí suspect was used in the fatal shooting. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

 

A father-of-three and senior gang figure has died after a late-night shooting outside his home in Co Meath.

Richard Carberry (39) died in the early hours of Tuesday morning after being ambushed by a gunman after he arrived at the family home on Castlemartin Drive, Bettystown, Co Meath, at about 11.40pm on Monday.

Carberry was regarded by gardaí as a drug dealer arranging for the supply of drugs to one of the two gangs involved in the gun feud in Drogheda, Co Louth.

His was the second killing in the feud following the shooting dead of Keith Branigan at a caravan park near Clogherhead, Co Louth, in August.

One line of investigation being pursued by gardaí is that he was targeted by the same side of the feud that murdered Branigan.

It has emerged an attempt was made on the life of Carberry in March when his home was fired at by gunmen. He had also previously been formally warned by gardaí his life was in danger.

As a result of the shooting in March, extra Garda patrols had been put in place around the Castlemartin estate as a precaution following that incident.

About 30 minutes before the victim was gunned down outside his house a Garda patrol, in a vehicle, had passed the house as part of the additional security.

However, there were no gardaí in the area when the victim returned to his home in his Audi vehicle just after 11.30pm.

He got out of the vehicle and was closing the front gates of his semi-detached home when he was ambushed by a man armed with an automatic pistol.

He collapsed and was found wounded on the pavement outside his house when gardaí and paramedics arrived. The victim’s wife and children were in the house at the time.

Up to six shots were fired, some of which fatally wounded the victim. One bullet also hit the victim’s car, another hit a neighbour’s car and a third hit a vehicle parked across the street.

Gardai pictured at the scene of a fatal shooting of a man on Castlemartin Drive. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins
Gardai pictured at the scene of a fatal shooting of a man on Castlemartin Drive. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Supt Fergus Dwyer of Ashbourne Garda station said the killing and the manner of the attack was of grave concern, and he appealed for the public to assist the murder inquiry.

Noting that cars on the street were hit with gunfire, he said: “Some of those bullets could have gone through the window of a house.

“This is a residential area; a lot of young families with young children. We are doing all we can to find the culprits and our patrols in the area will continue.”

Asked about links to the Drogheda feud, Supt Dwyer made no substantive comment but added he and his colleagues were liaising closely with Drogheda gardaí.

He appealed for anyone who was in the Castlemartin estate between 8pm and 11.30pm on Monday to come forward, adding a small van later found burnt out was of particular interest.

A short time after the attack the van was discovered on fire in Eastham Road, Bettystown, close to where the shooting took place.

Gardaí are trying to establish if the van, with the killer inside, was parked close to the victim’s home before the attack.

Gardaí suspect the vehicle was used in the attack and that those involved likely switched to another vehicle to escape the area.

They are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the incident or who may have information to contact the incident room at Ashbourne Garda Station on 01 801 0600, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.

They are particularly anxious to hear from road users with camera footage who were in the area at the time of shooting.

Gang feud

Branigan, who was associated with leading gang members on one side of the feud, was shot at a caravan park near Clogherhead, Co Louth, in August.

Although he was the first man to be killed in the feud, a number of others have been shot and wounded but survived.

The first one of those non-fatal shootings occurred in July of last year and effectively marked the beginning of the dispute, which started as a drugs turf war.

A major security operation has been put in place in Drogheda as violence between the groups has continued, with more than 70 incidents to date.

The attacks have included shootings, beatings and a series of arson attacks in which houses and vehicles have been burnt out.

Cllr Sharon Tolan (FG), who lives in Bettystown, said people in the area were shocked at last night’s fatal attack.

“Regardless of the reports [of the attack being feud-related] at the end of the day there is an individual, husband, father and neighbour dead this morning and there are serious questions that need answered,” she said.

“If this individual was a known target, how was somebody able to drive into this lovely family estate, where people feel safe in their homes . . . and shoot somebody dead and drive back out?

“If this man was a known target, there should have been a very close eye kept. People are now asking questions ‘are they safe walking down the street’.”

Cllr Tolan added she was aware in March that the man shot dead last night was being targeted. She had met him on the street many times and exchanged greetings.

“There’s only one way into this estate and one way out, it’s shocking there weren’t more Garda resources here keeping an eye on things and ensuring the public were safe,” she said.

Cllr Tolan added there had been an increase in Garda resources since the feud erupted. However, these had been in Drogheda rather than in east Meath.

The community was “shook” and she had already spoken to her party colleague Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan this morning about the shooting.

She described the local Garda station, in Laytown, as “a bungalow in a housing estate”, although she accepted that was a separate issue to the policing of the feud. What was required was “more gardai on the streets”.