The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has decided against prosecuting anyone for the murder of a convicted Cork drug dealer which was claimed by the Real IRA as there currently isn't enough evidence to warrant a charge.
Sgt Fergus Twomey told the inquest into the death of Gerard 'Topper' Staunton that an investigation file was sent by the gardaí to the DPP into his murder in Cork city on January 20th, 2010.
Gardaí recently received back directions from the DPP that there should be no prosecutions at this point in time over the killing of Staunton, Sgt Twomey told Cork City Coroner's Court yesterday.
Cork City Coroner, Dr Myra Cullinane said the inquest could go ahead given that no criminal proceedings are currently being contemplated. Dr Cullinane adjourned the inquest for hearing on August 3rd, 2016.
The inquest previously heard evidence from assistant State pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster that 41-year-old Staunton died from shock and haemorrhage due to a gunshot wound to the chest.
A native of Hollyhill in Cork, Staunton was shot dead in front of his partner, Karen Flynn, and her two young children outside their home at Westlawn off Sarsfield's Road on the city's southside.
Staunton and Ms Flynn were about to get into their Audi car and drive off with her children when he was shot at close range by a gunman armed with what was believed to be a sawn-off shotgun.
The Real IRA issued a statement soon afterwards through the '32 County Sovereignty Movement' to the Evening Echo newspaper in which it claimed responsibility for the shooting of Staunton.
The Real IRA said Staunton’s killing was not “a once off” and issued a warning to drug dealers in Cork to desist from their activities if they did not want to share the same fate.
Even thought the Real IRA said in its statement that its aim was to rid working-class communities of drug dealing, gardaí believed they were using the threats to extort money from drug dealers.
Gardaí under Supt Charlie Barry of Togher Garda station began a murder investigation and over the following year arrested a total of six men and a woman for questioning about the killing.
A detailed file on the matter including transcripts of interviews with those arrested and CCTV footage from various locations in Cork was later sent to the DPP for consideration.
Speaking yesterday after the inquest was adjourned, Supt Barry said the decision not to prosecute reflects the DPP’s thinking at this point in time but that the file into Mr Staunton’s murder remains open.
He issued a renewed appeal to anyone who may have any information which could assist gardai in bringing Staunton’s killers to justice to contact Togher Garda Station on 021-4947120.