No one has been charged in relation to 15 killings carried out by gangs involved in drugs or other crime since 1998
Thomas Lockard (34), from Belfast, was found bound, tortured and stabbed to death near the Border in Co Louth on April 27th, 1998. He had been part of a cross-Border drugs gang and had worked for the Garda as a valuable informant.
However, his associates might not have known of his work with the Garda and he could have been killed as a result of an internal dispute in the gang over a consignment of cannabis and ecstasy which he was supposed to have smuggled into the North from Britain.
Lockard was last seen with Nuella Fitchie, a member of the gang, in Belfast a few days before his body was found on April 27th.
The RUC believes she may have conspired in his death. Associates tortured and stabbed Lockard to death. They drove across the Border and dumped his body in Co Louth in an attempt to disguise what had happened.
The gang's activities, which centred on the shipping of large amounts of the drugs ecstasy and amphetamine, were disrupted by Garda and RUC work and millions of pounds worth of the drugs seized over a 12-month period.
Fitchie (43) who came from south-east Antrim, died last November after a condom filled with ecstasy burst inside her stomach in Blackpool.
Sinead Kelly (21) from Santry was stabbed to death as she worked as a prostitute on the banks of the Grand Canal near Baggot Street, Dublin, on June 21st, 1998. She was a heroin addict and small-time dealer who owed money to a north Dublin drugs gang whose leader ordered her murder.
Kelly's murder drew attention to the dire straits of drug-addicted prostitutes working on the banks of the canal and in the Benburb Street area.
She came from a good family in north Dublin, but was drawn into heroin addiction by a boyfriend who was an addict. Her life went downhill rapidly and she was working as a prostitute by the age of 19.
On the night she was murdered she was betrayed by another prostitute to the gang sent to kill her. She was trapped on a stretch of the canal between Mount Street and Baggot Street and killed quickly by a number of powerful stab wounds to the chest, one severing a major artery to the heart.
She owed a relatively small amount of money to the drugs gang, whose leader, a man in his mid-20s, lives in a housing development in Co Meath.
Several people were arrested and questioned, but there is no sign of any charge of murder arising from the investigation.
Gerard Moran (35) from Rory O'Connor House, Hardwicke Street, in north central Dublin, was shot dead while delivering take-away food in Drumcondra on November 21st, 1998.
He was a violent, petty criminal who had a number of running disputes with both local criminals and republicans. He is said to have had so many arguments that local gardai said at the outset that there were literally dozens of potential leads.
Moran was married with a young family and was said by some locals to have shown some signs of maturing in the period before his death. But his reputation for violence was considerable.
Postal deliveries to the flats where he lived had been stopped because of his attacks on postal workers. He was also said to have confronted local anti-drugs activists with a Japanese Samurai sword.
He had disputes with other criminals, including drug dealers, in the north inner city.
However, gardai suspect his attacks on the anti-drugs activists may have led local republicans to decide to take action against him. It is suspected he was shot dead as a result of an IRA "knee-capping" that went wrong.
Patrick Lawlor, a 17-year-old minor criminal from Ballyfermot, disappeared in January last year. It is believed he was murdered by a local drug dealer and buried secretly somewhere in west Dublin.
His involvement in the drug scene in the Gallanstown area led him to work for a violent local heroin dealer who has been a source of major problems in the Gallanstown area for the past six or seven years.
The dealer recruited a large gang of teenagers to sell heroin in the Ballyfermot area and by his early 20s was already distributing tens of thousands of pounds' worth of heroin each month.
Lawlor, although only 17, was mature for his years and was already a father when he died.
Heroin and cash which Lawlor was holding for the dealer were seized in a Garda raid in November 1998 and in January last year he was abducted. It is believed he was tortured and possibly beaten to death. It is also believed he was secretly buried in countryside west of Dublin.
John Dillon (53), a minor criminal, was shot dead at his home in Glenties Park, Finglas, Dublin, on January 7th last year. He was suspected of passing information to gardai by members of a local gang.
Dillon had a history of involvement in crime, but it is believed he had retired from criminal life and was living a largely honest existence as a taxi driver in Dublin.
However, gardai believe he may have fallen into debt and agreed to act as a getaway driver for a Finglas gang which is involved in a variety of criminal endeavours from armed robbery to extortion and drugs dealing.
It appears Dillon's role became known to gardai and he was arrested and questioned. A number of people were subsequently charged and may have become aware that Dillon made a confession.
On the evening of January 7th last year a lone gunman knocked on his front door and killed Dillon with a single shotgun blast to the chest. No one has been charged with the murder.
Pascal Boland (43) of Ashcroft Court, Mullhuddart was shot seven times by a gunman with a semi-automatic pistol at his house on January 27th, 1999.
Boland had set up a drugs network in the north-west Dublin area in the previous few months in competition with another local gang led by two violent figures. It is believed these men, who are before the courts on other charges, killed him as part of this "turf war".
A lone gunman walked up to Boland as he was sitting in his car in front of his house at Ashcroft Court, one of the new housing developments in Mulhuddart, and shot him a number of times. In typical gangland or paramilitary style, the gunman was then driven off in a waiting car.
Boland's killing fits a pattern of gangland killings in Dublin over the past two decades where criminals fight for control of drug supply networks. A spate of these "turf war" killings took place between 1993 and 1996 when a number of gangs fought for ascendancy in the Dublin drugs trade.
The gang responsible for the murder of Veronica Guerin eventually emerged as the strongest and richest of these groups.
The dismantling of this gang by the Garda is seen as the cause of the latest spate of fighting.
Boland's killers are before the courts on other serious charges.
Thomas Reilly, in his early 30s, from Firhouse in the Tallaght area, was shot dead as he arrived for work at Premier Dairies at Whitehall Road, Rathfarnham, on the morning of March 31st last.
It is believed he was murdered, possibly by contract killers, at the behest of a Tallaght drugs gang.
Reilly was not well known to gardai but during the investigation into his murder it was discovered he had built a considerable drugs dealing network in the Tallaght area. It is also believed that in building his business he crossed a number of other local drug dealers, any one of whom could have ordered his killing.
Shortly before he arrived for work at the dairy, two men pulled up in a car and parked nearby. When Reilly's car arrived at the security gate the passenger walked up to his car and shot him through the face with a handgun. He then walked to the waiting getaway car and disappeared.
Kevin Fennell (23) was shot dead in the living room of his home in Drumcairn Park, Tallaght, on June 27th last year.
A heroin addict and local dealer, Fennell was waiting for a courier to deliver a "fix" to his house at around 2 a.m. when two men arrived, one carrying a shotgun. Fennell had been holding his infant son and had just handed the child to his partner when he was shot in the chest. He died almost immediately.
Fennell had a number of running disputes with criminals, some with criminal connections in the Tallaght area. Some months earlier his brother had been shot and badly injured in an incident which gardai believe might have been a case of mistaken identity.
It is suspected Fennell was shot dead by members of the splinter republican group, the Irish National Liberation Army, which has a small number of members in west Dublin. A man was arrested under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act recently and a file is being prepared for the DPP.
Noel Heffernan (35), from Ballyfermot Road, Dublin, was found dead from head injuries in a shed at Barberstown Lane near Dublin Airport on August 15th.
Heffernan was a single man who lived with his mother. He delivered vegetables to Dublin shops and may also have had a sideline in cannabis dealing, but is not known to have been seriously involved in drugs.
Initially gardai believed he might have been killed because he was having an affair with the wife of a west Dublin criminal. But it has since been learned that he may have been in debt to a drug dealer.
He was last seen on the morning of August 5th in the Kiltalawn area of Tallaght. His van was found abandoned in Ballymun on August 10th and five days later his decomposing remains were found in a disused shed near the airport at Barberstown. It is believed he had been abducted and beaten to death with heavy implements.
Richard McFerran (53) was shot dead while sitting in his car outside his apartment at Jocelyn Street, Dundalk, on August 15th. It was the second attempt on his life.
McFerran was suspected of cross-Border smuggling and appears to have been in dispute with a gang based in the same area, which has suspected republican paramilitary links, involved in the same type of crime.
A previous attempt was made on his life in October 1998 in Newry, but he escaped with only a gunshot wound to his elbow.
On the night he was killed he had been socialising in Dundalk and was followed back to his apartment building where he was shot dead before he could get out of the car. The killing was the work of a professional and may have been carried out by a hired republican gunman. Last year the Provisional IRA shot dead two cross-Border drug dealers, Brendan "Speedy" Fagan and Paul Downey in Newry, but it is not clear if McFerran's murder was related to these killings.
Martin Nolan (34) Newtown, Tramore, disappeared on November 10th last. It is believed he was abducted and killed by a local drugs gang.
Nolan was due to appear before Waterford District Court the day after he disappeared on charges of possessing several thousand pounds' worth of cannabis and ecstasy in Waterford the previous year.
He was last seen in Tramore, where he lived with his partner and their two children, on the evening of November 10th when gardai believe he was taken to Ballygoran Wood, beside the Regional Airport, and tortured and beaten to death.
Seven days after he disappeared foresters found a bloodstained area in the wood and tests showed it matched Nolan's blood type.
As in similar cases, it is believed Nolan was the victim of a punishment from a local drugs gang which suspected him of having stolen drugs money.
Joseph Vickers (43) was beaten to death outside his caravan in Greystones by members of a Co Wicklow drugs gang on December 13th last.
Vickers had convictions for drugs offences from his time as a heroin addict living in Bray in the 1980s and 1990s. He had served five years' imprisonment and was released in 1998 and from that time had not come to the notice of the local gardai.
He appears to have tried to have distanced himself from the drugs scene in Bray and moved south to Greystones where he lived in a caravan parked at North Beach.
He had been asleep in bed when a gang arrived at his caravan, dragged him to nearby wasteland and beat him to death. They ransacked and set fire to the caravan.
Again it appears that in this case the victim died because he owed a debt to drug dealers.
Darren Carey and Patrick Murray
Darren Carey (20) and Patrick Murray (19) were both shot dead and their bodies dumped in the Grand Canal by a Ballyfermot drug supplier after a dispute over heroin seized by gardai just before new year.
The "bodies in the canal" story at the beginning of this year drew attention to the violent youth culture of west Dublin.
Murray and Carey (above) were minor criminals who had been drawn into working as couriers for a very violent 25-year-old drug dealer from Ballyfermot. This young man, in turn, came from a violent criminal family background.
His father, who died two years ago, was a bank robber and associate of Dublin criminal Martin Cahill, but had escaped lengthy jail sentences because he acted as a Garda informer.
The two young victims had travelled to Amsterdam to collect £30,000 worth of heroin for the Ballyfermot dealer and Murray was arrested on his way home last November and the drugs seized.
The Ballyfermot man, with the assistance of Carey, kidnapped Murray on December 28th. Murray was stripped naked and tortured before being killed with a shotgun blast to the back of the head. The Ballyfermot man then killed Carey.
Over new year the two bodies were taken to the Grand Canal near Newcastle, Co Dublin and dumped. They were discovered by strollers on January 9th.
Joseph Foran (38) from Glasanaon Road, Finglas, was shot dead as he sat in a car with his girlfriend outside his house on February 26th last.
Foran was a local drug dealer, supplying a variety of drugs including heroin, in the Finglas area. He also had a reputation for violence.
He was killed by a single .38 bullet fired through the open window of his car, in a fashion suggesting his killer was an expert.
Foran was an associate of P.J. Judge, another Finglas drug dealer who was shot dead in a remarkably similar fashion as he sat in his car outside a local public house in 1997.
There were initial suspicions that Foran might have been in dispute with a criminal family from Finglas who are suspected of being behind the murder of John Dillon, the taxi driver shot dead in his house in Finglas in January last year.
However, it has since been learned that Foran enjoyed a working relationship with the criminal family behind the other murder and may have been working with them in drugs dealing.
It is now suspected that Foran and his former associate P.J. Judge were killed by a Provisional IRA gunman, possibly brought in from outside Dublin, after complaints from several Finglas families about the damage Foran and other drug dealers were doing to the local community. As in its other killings of suspected drugs dealers in Dublin and the North, there is no admission of responsibility from the IRA.