Search by Criminal Assets Bureau targets leading gang member

Car belonging to man connected to extortion of building contractors seized

 Members of the armed support unit supported Cab officers in the search. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Members of the armed support unit supported Cab officers in the search. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins


Officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) have again moved against a man named as one of two leading gang members who extorted building contractors working on Dublin City Council social authority housing in west Dublin.

The details of the crimes, which were first reported by The Irish Times, proved controversial at the time and put the council under pressure to explain what, if anything, it knew of the payments being paid by the contractors as protection money.

On Wednesday a large team of Garda members, including officers from two specialist armed units, carried out the search targeting notorious criminal David Reilly.

While he is in prison at present he has continued to develop an extensive property on lands in Co Kildare, which includes stables for horses and a trotting track.

Cab’s officers were supported during Wednesday’s search operation by eastern region detective units, the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, the Emergency Response Unit, Eastern Region Armed Support Unit and Customs Dog Unit.

A 211 Skoda Kodiaq was seized along with documents related to the purchase of properties. The operation was primarily aimed at searching for documents and other evidence that would reveal the purchase of any larger assets, including property, by Reilly using the proceeds of his crimes.

Seized Skoda Kodiaq (211).
Seized Skoda Kodiaq (211).

During a Cab case in 2019 the High Court was told the contractors working on Dublin City Council social housing were informed they could make payments to two men to ensure attacks on the sites, in Cherry Orchard, would stop and then claim back the money from the council.

More than €550,000 was paid out and the High Court ruled the money was the proceeds of crime. It gave permission to Cab to seize what remained of the cash, almost €300,000, from the men who had extorted it: Derek O’Driscoll (47), Meagan’s Lane, Crooksling, Saggart, and David Reilly (37), Croftgrove, Ballyfermot.

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 and Reilly offered the contractors in Cherry Orchard a “fence maintenance” service and more than €550,000 was paid to them over a number of years in so-called “fence maintenance” fees. The High Court heard that the “fence maintenance” service was “a fiction” and no such service existed. Instead, the court heard, O’Driscoll and Reilly directed the anti-social behaviour and when weekly payments to them were commenced, the violence stopped.

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.

During Cab’s case two years ago the High 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.

While Cab already took an assets confiscation case against the men and it was concluded, further Cab investigations have been ongoing into the men and their associates. The searches at Reilly’s property in rural Co Kildare on Wednesday represent the latest phase of those investigations.

In September 2015 a sulky racing horse named Ants in his Pants, was bought from Australia and transported to Ireland for an importation fee of almost €20,000. The horse was bought at auction for a record price, and investigations revealed Reilly as co-owner of the animal. He was jailed for 27 months in November, 2019, for his role in beating a man whose face was slashed with a Stanley knife during at attack in Ballyfermot in June, 2016.