Dublin gang leader suspect in 1995 killing

 

A West Dublin gang leader suspected of murdering two young men whose bodies were recovered from the Grand Canal may have killed before in another drugs-related dispute over four years ago.

The criminal, who is still in his 20s, was one of the main suspects in the killing of Mr Gerard Connolly (29), a lorry driver who was shot dead at his home in Ballyfermot, Dublin, in August 1995. Like the two young men shot dead over the new year holidays, Mr Connolly was a drugs courier connected with the Ballyfermot-based gang. It is believed he was suspected of passing information to gardai leading to the seizure of a drugs consignment. That murder, along with several other "gangland" killings at that time, remain unsolved.

According to local sources, the criminal suspected of the killings has been running a drugs trade in the area for several years. He comes from a criminal background and is the son of a former armed robber and associate of the Dublin criminal figure, Martin Cahill.

Yesterday, the Minister for Justice, Mr O'Donoghue, expressed concern at the killing of Mr Patrick Murray (19) and Mr Darren Carey (20), who were both shot in the back of the head before being dumped in the Grand Canal at Kearneystown, Co Dublin.

Mr O'Donoghue has assured the Garda Commissioner, Mr Pat Byrne, that "whatever resources he may require will be available to him to ensure that the perpetrators will be brought to justice".

According to a statement issued by the Department of Justice, the Garda Commissioner informed the Minister he had already deployed a major investigation team and no effort would be spared to solve the crime.

The Labour Party's justice spokesman, Mr Brendan Howlin, yesterday called on the Minister to review the "State's capacity to fight organised crime".

He said as well as setting up a new agency to target new drug networks, the State should "undertake an all-out assault on poverty and disadvantage that draws many young people into drug dependency".

Mr Howlin added: "We have the resources available to us to make a real break with the poverty of the past and any response to growing threat from organised crime must recognise this fact."