Shooting incident in central Dublin is linked to Finglas gang feud, gardaí believe

Officials are concerned dispute has drawn in well-known criminals from south inner city

Gardaí believe a recent shooting incident in central Dublin is directly linked to a worsening gangland feud in Finglas.

Officers are concerned that the dispute, which claimed the life of James Whelan in Finglas two weeks ago, has drawn in well-known criminals from the south inner city.

Mr Whelan (29), a father of one, was killed on the Deanstown estate in Finglas in the early hours of April 3rd. Mr Whelan was once part of the main Finglas drug gang. However, that group has split into two factions in recent years and a feud has started between them.

A series of violent incidents – including grenade attacks and drive-by shootings at houses – began last year and has continued. Mr Whelan’s murder was the first fatality in the feud.


While gardaí are very concerned about the situation in Finglas and the potential for further violence, the spread of the feud into central Dublin represents a worrying development.

The Irish Times understands a rivalry between two gangs based around Mercer House flats complex on Mercer Street Upper, Dublin 2, and around Pearse House, Pearse Street, has created a security risk for gardaí in the city.

Those concerns deepened in the early hours of April 8th when a number of men entered the Mercer House complex and shots were fired into one of the properties.

A man armed with a handgun appears to have opened fire from the courtyard of the complex and hit the wrong flat, although nothing emerged publicly about the incident at the time.

Wrong flat

Gardaí believe the gunman was trying to target the home of a man from the area who was closely associated with Mr Whelan. However, he mistakenly fired at the wrong flat. No injuries were reported and a number of follow-up searches were carried out. Casings were later recovered on nearby Digges Lane.

Detectives working in the city have investigated the matter and confirmed the incident was directly linked to the Finglas feud. The faction located in Mercer House is aligned with Mr Whelan’s side of the feud in Finglas, which remains a large and active drug gang.

The gang based around Pearse House is aligned with the gang on the other side of the Finglas feud. That Finglas faction is led by a man in his late 20s who has, despite his relative youth, emerged as a senior gangland figure across north Dublin in recent years.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times