You are currently viewing Main new map venture of Dublin gun murders (1970 to 2022)

Main new map venture of Dublin gun murders (1970 to 2022)

Introduction
This new map plots out the locations of almost 350 gun murders in Dublin (and neighbouring counties) relating to organised crime, anti-social elements, paramilitary feuds, robberies and raids over the last 50+ years. It was compiled independently by Sam McGrath of the Come Here To Me! blog.

To open the full map in a new tab, click here.

It began during the quiet months of the first lockdown when I set out on a project to establish how many ‘gangland’ murders have occurred in Dublin since the 1970s. No such figure was available online and I was interested in providing figures that could be compared to other cities like Glasgow, Manchester and London.

I am not interested in conjecture or trying to work out identities or motives. Descriptions of fatal shootings are short and pertinent. I also avoided the highly charged language used by tabloid newspapers. I mean no disrespect to any of the families affected by any of the fatal shootings and hope they do not feel unsettled that their loved one has been included on the map.

Information was gathered from the online archives of The Evening Herald, the Irish Independent, The Irish Press, The Irish Times and The Sunday Tribune as well relevant books by journalists Stephen Breen, Gene Kerrigan, Mick McCaffrey, Paul McWilliams, John Mooney, Paul Reynolds and Padraig Yeates.

The term ‘gangland’ murder can be problematic. I wanted to include all ‘criminal on criminal’ murders (the vast majority) but also innocent victims caught up in the crossfire and specific individuals who were killed in planned ‘hits’ but where the motive was unclear. I also included gun murders arising in conflicts between republican paramilitaries and criminal gangs; intra-republican paramilitary feuds and armed robberies. I am essentially interested in collating data about (nearly) all gun murders in Dublin that were not connected to family or relationship fallouts (husband shoots wife, brother kills father etc.)

Background
I’ve always had a particular interest in crime, gangs and the shadowy underworld of our capital city. I’ve previously researched and published articles on a criminal street gang called the ‘Sons of Dawn‘ and a more serious outfit of armed robbers led by Claude Gunner who were both tracked down and arrested by the IRA in the early 1920s. I wrote a biography piece on Charlie Henchico, an infamous street criminal and hustler, who from the early 1940s until his death in 1968, was involved in an absurdly long list of shootings, stabbings, hatchet-attacks, house robberies, larceny, pimping and various other illegal enterprises. I’ve also dipped into the emergence of the city’s modern drugs culture in the 1960s and 1970s and the experience of Dublin during the conflict in the North of Ireland (1969-1994). I wrote two long articles on killings related to criminality/’gangland’ in the 1970s/1980s and 1990-94.

All of these subject interests, which often overlap, coalesce with the emergence of what today we call ‘gangland’. Petty young criminals in the 1960s began as prolific shoplifters and pickpockets. Many were arrested and sent to brutal industrial and reformatory schools. They emerged as hardened outlaws who turned to house burglary before elevating to armed robberies of banks, post offices and jewellery shops. It was open season for a period in the 1970s and 1980s but improved security and increased police resources resulted in a drop in armed robberies. Many gangs began to sell cannabis, and other drugs, on the side which proved to be safer work and more profitable. In 1979/80, heroin flooded Western Europe following the fall of the Shah in Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The Dunne family became the first major importers of the drug into working-class communities in Dublin. The colossal dividends of drug dealing led to a proliferation of gangs, guns, paranoia and turf rivalry. There were cases of criminal gangs in Dublin using firearms to injure and maim rivals in the 1960s and 1970s but they were rare. The first cases, that I could find, of criminals shooting dead fellow criminals, was in 1978 and 1979 but consumption of drink and/or drugs and personal jealousy were often the key motives. The first clear premeditated murder by a criminal gang occurred in 1980 and in 1982/83 there were three cases of rival drug dealers killing each other in Dublin.

I think for many people, certainly, my generation, the history of modern gangland carnage begins with the shooting dead of crime boss Martin Cahill (‘The General’) by the Provisional IRA in 1994 and the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin by criminals two years later. However, this research shows that there were at least 15 premeditated gangland murders and another seven killings linked to criminality that occurred in the years leading up to 1994. Drug gangs began to import large quantities of ecstasy in the early 1990s to cater for the demands of the growing rave and club scene while prevalent cocaine consumption became synonymous with the Celtic Tiger era of the mid to late 1990s. Increased demand for drugs by the middle classes generated intense competition between gangs over turf which inevitably generated violent feuds and attacks. This period also significantly coincided with the winding down of the PIRA’s armed campaign which, in some people’s minds, resulted in criminal gangs having a ‘free rein’ to operate in many working-class communities in the city. It is also worth noting that the last mass anti-drugs community campaign (COCAD) in Dublin became inactive by around 2002.

The early 2000s saw the vicious Crumlin-Drimnagh feud in Dublin which led to the deaths of about 16 people. Gun violence and feuds grew throughout the decade. The Hutch-Kinahan conflict, which has resulted in the deaths of 18-19 people since 2015, has made world headlines. This has coincided with a growing public appetite for fictional accounts of our local underworld with television series (Love/Hate 2010-14 and Kin 2021), films (Cardboard Gangsters 2017 and Michael Inside 2018) and a whole series of fiction and nonfiction books.

Methodology and sources
I collated the incidents by using key search terms in the newspaper archives – “shot dead”, “fatal shooting”, “gun” + “inquest” etc. Most major newspapers also compiled a list of all murders that took place in the year which was published in December or January. This was a very useful tool.

Trying to divide the murders into different areas of motive was an important but difficult task. I created two principal lists – premeditated and non-premeditated.

Within List One (dark red), I separated the murders into five different categories which I came up with myself:

Motive 1) Criminals, or individuals with links to organised crime, being killed by other criminals in a) shootings in or near their home, a pub or on the street or b) abduction cases where people were killed and their bodies dumped in secluded locations. 

Motive 2) Individuals killed by criminal gangs a) in cases of mistaken identity b) for being witnesses or c) because they were physically with the intended target at the time. In other words, the perpetrators did not have plans to kill these specific people when they set out that day but they did plan to kill somebody else.

Motive 3) Criminals, or suspected criminals, killed by republican paramilitaries. 

Motive 4) Republican paramilitaries killed by suspected criminals.

Motive 5) Individuals, who had no known involvement in serious crime, killed by criminal gangs, or others, where there are personal/paranoia/revenge motives or where the motive is unknown but it has all the hallmarks of a ‘gangland hit’.

(Note: I have included a handful of incidents where individuals, not regarded as being involved in criminality, were shot dead in revenge for rape, child molesting or manslaughter in Motive 1 instead of Motive 5.) 

List two (brown) comprises of murders that were linked to gangland/serious criminality but were not planned in advance e.g. gang fights, one on one stabbing incidents, drug deals gone wrong, individuals shot by anti-social youths etc. They are divided into two categories:

Motive 6) Criminals or anti-social youths killed by other criminals or other antisocial youths during gang fights, one on one fights, unpremeditated incidents or similar

Motive 7) Individuals, not connected to criminality, killed by criminals or antisocial youths

I also created three additional lists:

List three (green)-  individuals (nearly all criminals) who were shot by themselves or by associates by accident.

List four (dark blue) – individuals shot dead in the course of raids and robberies including security guards, garda officers and criminals themselves.

List five (black) – individuals killed during the ‘Troubles’. A mixture of republican paramilitaries killed in feuds; republican paramilitaries killed by security personnel; garda, prison officers and informers killed by republican paramilitaries. I did not include those killed in bomb attacks.

Numbers and breakdown
The research reveals that there have been 285 fatal shootings (up to 12 April 2022) – linked to criminality – where there has been premeditation to some degree. 279 were plotted on the map as the bodies of six victims have not been found – see Appendix 1.

239 of these murders took place in Dublin. I also included all ‘gangland’ murders that occurred in bordering counties Kildare (8), Meath (15) and Wicklow (11) because their active criminal gangs often include people originally from Dublin or have links (or rivalries) with Dublin criminals. I also included six murders in other counties when the murder victims were Dublin criminals.

I have not included any of the criminal feuds that have resulted in deaths in Cork, Dundalk, Drogheda, Limerick and Sligo, or mentioned any of the Irish criminals who have been killed in the Netherlands, Portugal or Spain.

For the chronological list, after some deliberation, I decided to use the date that a person was shot and wounded and not a later date that they died in hospital. I also used the date that someone went missing, or was last seen, as opposed to when their remains were found. I think this more accurately helps to understand the timeline of criminal feuds and where that person’s death fits into the bigger picture. 

Findings
Many ‘household’ names of career criminals will be recognised by readers such as Martin Cahill (‘The General’) (1994), Seamus ‘Shavo’ Hogan (2002), Martin ‘Marlo’ Hyland (2006), Eamon ‘The Don’ Dunne (2010) and the Kinahan lieutenant David Byrne (2016). Many will also recall the names of innocent victims such as journalist Veronica Guerin (1996), plumber Anthony Campbell (2006), garage employee Eddie Ward (2007) and cousins Mark Noonan and Glen Murphy (2010).

The youngest victims were Gerard Morgan (15) in 1982, Melanie McCarthy-McNamara (16) in 2012 and Patrick ‘Whacker’ Lawlor (17) in 1999. The oldest were Noel ‘Duck Egg’ Kirwan (62) in 2016, Edward Nugent (64) in 2015, Joan Casey (65) in 2004 and Eamon Kelly (65) in 2012. The average age of the 285 victims was 33 years old.

The project covers the major criminal feuds of the last 20 years in the country’s capital city:

  • The INLA vs West Dublin criminal gang feud (1999-2008?) – c. six deaths
  • Crumlin-Drimnagh feud (2002-12?) – c. 16-18 deaths
  • Westies gang fall out: Coates/Sugg faction vs. Glennon brothers faction (2003-05?) – c. four deaths
  • Sheriff St. gang fall out: Christy Griffin vs anti-Christy Griffin faction (2006-10) – c. six deaths
  • M50 gang fall out: Corbally brothers faction vs. O’Driscoll faction (2009-10) c. four deaths
  • Dublin RIRA (Alan Ryan) vs. Coolock gang (‘Mr Big’) (2010-16) – c. eight deaths
  • Hutch vs Kinahan (2015-present) – c. 18 deaths
  • Coolock feud (2019-present) – c. five deaths

According to my research, 10 women were shot dead by those with links to criminality. Six were innocent witnesses or were killed in cases of mistaken identity – Catherine Brennan (1995), Joan Casey (2004), Melanie McCarthy-McNamara (2012), Anna Varslavane (2015) and Antoinette Corball (2017). Donna Cleary was killed when young criminals shot at her home in 2006. Four women were specifically targeted. Journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996, sex worker Sinead Kelly in 1998, Baiba Saulite in 2006 (who was in the middle of a bitter domestic dispute with her former partner and criminal Hassan Hassan over the custody of their two children), and Marioara Rostas who was brutally raped and shot dead in 2008 by a gangland hitman.

A total of 18 individuals were killed while socialising in pubs (See appendix 2). Five of these pubs have since been demolished, one is permanently empty, one is a Chinese restaurant, four are still operating under the same name while another seven are open but have changed their name. A further six people were killed while smoking or drinking outside pubs or while leaving in the car park.

There were a total of 15 cases of ‘double murders’ when two individuals were murdered in the same incident. (See appendix 3) Two fathers and sons were killed in separate incidents – Eddie McCabe (1995) & Eddie McCabe Jr. (2006) as well as Noel Kirwan (2016) & Kane McCormack (2017). There are ten cases of two brothers being killed in separate incidents and a number of uncle/nephew and cousin/cousin murder victims.

The project includes ten individuals born outside of the island:

  1. Tony Lee – 1979 – China
  2. Michael Tsin – 1979 – China
  3. Qui Hong Xiang – 2002 – China
  4. Baiba Saulite – 2006 – Latvia
  5. Marioara Rostas – 2008 – Romania 
  6. Charles Sinapayen – 2009 – France
  7. Zilvinas Varnauskas – 2012 – Lithuania 
  8. Gintaras Želvys – 2013 – Lithuania 
  9. Anna Varslavane – 2015 – Latvia
  10.  Hamid Sanambar – 2019 – Iran

Also two men who had family ties to Belgium (Yohan ‘Yohi’ Verhoeven 2006) and Libya-Pakistan (Adil Essalhi 2011).

Geography
Looking at the map, it is stark but no surprise to see the vast majority of pins on the Northside and in West Dublin. Working-class areas with high levels of deprivation and decades-long issues with crime, drugs, unemployment and education levels.

It is striking that there are no pins anywhere within about 5km of the coast from the south city centre all the way down to Bray.  This means that there have been no ‘gangland’ murders in 40+ years in south-east middle-class areas (which would be expected) but also working-class areas which comprise all, or parts, of Ringsend, Irishtown, Dún Laoghaire, Shankill, Monkstown, Ballybrack, Cabinteely, Loughlinstown, Sallynoggin, Ballinteer, Ballyboden, Ballyogan and Sandyford.

There is no doubt that criminal gangs operate in these areas but it is possible that they are less prone to feuds and violence with rivals. Some of it is down to pure luck as there have been shooting incidents in Ballybrack (2007 and 2017); Monkstown Farm (2019); Ringsend (2003); Loughlinstown (2007); Sallynoggin (2014); Ballyogan (2019) and Sandyford (2001).

Conclusion and contact

This project and research will be of interest to historians, researchers and journalists with an interest in criminality, sociology, violence, drugs, homicide levels and social history. These figures should allow others to compare the number of ‘gangland’ murders in Dublin (1.2m) with cities of relatively similar size like Manchester (2.7m) and Glasgow (1.7m). For example, research suggests that during the ten year period between 1999 and 2009, 112 people in Greater Manchester were shot dead. This project has compiled the list of 117 individuals who were killed in gun violence in the same period in Dublin and 131 people if you include neighbouring counties like Meath and Wicklow.

This is a personal project without any financial backing. As you can imagine, it took hundreds of hours of research. I also plan to update it semi-regularly with new incidents. Any few coins would be greatly appreciated! Links: Paypal (matchgrams(at)gmail.com) or Revolut (http://revolut.me/sammcgrath77).

A project of this size is likely to contain some inaccurate details. I apologise in advance and will rectify any genuine mistakes. It is by no means exhaustive and all conclusions are my own. I also would be interested in knowing of any fatalities that I might have missed.  If you have any comments or information, please reach me at matchgrams(at)gmail.com.

Note: I have no connection with the blog (https://ganglandireland.wordpress.com/) but it was a very useful starting point.

Appendix 1 – Bodies that have not been recovered

02 Feb 2000 – Stephen Finnegan (19), of Willie Nolan Road, Baldoyle, was last seen alive on his date. His car, a silver 1986 Honda Civic, was found reversed into the entrance of a house in Ceanchor Road, Howth on 06 Feb. His mother said in a 2011 interview that Stephen had found a haul of drugs in late December 1999. She claims that he was badly beaten by the criminal who owned them and was bombarded with threatening phone calls including that he would be shot. Stephen’s mother believed the criminal thought her son was going to inform the police about the drugs. The mother “believes that he was followed to Howth and shot close to where his car was located and his body then dumped into the Irish Sea from nearby cliffs”. [Motive 5?]

16 Dec 2004: Patrick Lawlor (23), of Buttercup Terrace, Darndale, went missing from his home on this date. His car was found the following day near Dublin Airport. Police suspect that he was killed by a drug gang who he worked for as a courier. Despite extensive digs in the Swords and Balgriffin areas, his body has never been found. [Motive 1]

23 July 2008: Alan Napper (39), of Seacliff Road, Baldoyle, and David ‘Babyface’ Lindsay (38), of Seacliff Drive, Baldoyle were last seen alive on this date in Clane, Co. Kildare. Both had been charged with the possession of substantial amounts of drugs in separate incidents in the 1990s. It is believed that they were killed in a house on the Drumdreenagh Road, Rathfriland, Co. Down, where bloodstains matching Lindsay were later found. Their bodies have never been recovered. Motive 1.

14 April 2015: William Maughan (34), originally from Killinarden, Tallaght, and Anna Varslavane (21), originally from Latvia, were last seen alive on this date. The pair lived together in Gormanstown, Co Meath but were planning to move back to Tallaght at the time of their disappearance. Gardaí believe they were abducted and killed by a criminal gang operating in Meath and Louth as they feared the pair were going to provide information to the Gardaí about the shooting dead of Benny Whitehouse in Balbriggan the year previously. Their bodies have never been found. [Motive 5 – innocent]

Appendix 2 – Pub killings
Pubs (Inside)

  1. Jackie Kelly – 17 Sep. 1980 – Grace’s pub, corner of Townsend St. and Shaw St., Pearse St., D2 – Destroyed by fire 1983.
  2. John Reddin – 01 April 1996 – The Blue Lion pub, 103 Parnell St., North Inner City, D1 – Korean restaurant today
  3. Tony ‘Chester’ Beatty – 30 Nov. 1997 – The Wild Heather pub, 60 Mary St, North Inner City, D1 – Closed 1990s. 
  4. Eamon O’Reilly – 11 Jan. 1998 – The Tower Inn pub, St. Helena’s Rd, Finglas, D11 – Closed 2000s
  5. Raymond Salinger – 28 Jan. 2003 – Farrell’s pub, 35 New St., Clanbrassil St., D8 – Open today (Kavanagh’s)
  6. Declan Griffin – 05 April 2003 – Horse and Jockey pub, Emmet Rd., Inchicore, D8 – Closed
  7. Thomas Canavan – 04 Aug 2003 – Cleary’s pub, 53 Sarsfield Rd., Inchicore, D8 – Open (same name)
  8. Bernard Verb Sugg – 17 Aug 2003 – Brookwood Inn pub, Blackcourt Road, Blanchardstown, D15 – Open today (Leonard’s)
  9. Paul Warren – 25 Feb 2004 – Gray’s pub, Newmarket Square, Coombe, Liberties, D8 – Closed and demolished
  10. Jimmy Curran – 03 April 2005 – The Green Lizard pub, Francis St., The Liberties, South Inner City, D8 – Open today (Drop Dead Twice)
  11. Anthony Russell – 18 April 2008 – Ardlea Inn pub, 11 Maryfield Ave., Artane, D5 – Open today (same name)
  12.  Paul ‘Farmer’ Martin – 23 Aug 2008 – Jolly Toper pub, 33 Church St., Finglas, D11 – Open today (Village Inn)
  13.  John ‘Champagne’ Carroll – 18 Feb 2009 – Grumpy Jack’s pub, 25 The Coombe, D8 – Open today (Spitalfields)
  14.  Eamon Dunne – 23 April 2010 – Fassaugh House pub, 2A Fassaugh Ave., Cabra, D7 – Closed and to be demolished
  15.  Darren Coggan – 25 June 2011 – Black Horse Inn pub, 233 Tyrconnell Rd., Inchicore, D8 – Closed 2010s
  16.  Alan McNally – 02 Feb 2012 – Cappagh Nua pub, 58 Barry Rd., Finglas, D11 – Open today (Abbey Tavern)
  17.  Paul Cullen – 03 April 2013 – Cabra House pub, 62-66 Fassaugh Ave., Cabra, D7 – Closed
  18.  Michael Barr – 25 April 2016 – Sunset House pub, 1 Summerhill Parade, Ballybough, D3 – Off license today

Pubs (outside)

  1. PJ Judge (‘The Psycho’) – 08 Dec 1996 – sitting in car outside Royal Oak pub, Finglas Road, Finglas, D11
  2. Tommy Byrne – 13 April 2000 – drinking outside O’Neill’s pub, 16 Summerhill Parade, Ballybough, D1
  3. Ronald Draper – 14 June 2003 – bouncer outside Charlie P’s pub, Eden Quay, North Inner City, D1
  4. David Thomas – 09 Oct 2009 – smoking outside Drake Inn pub, 60 Main St., Finglas, D11
  5. Peter Butterly – 06 March 2013 – standing outside Huntsman Inn pub, Gormanston, Co. Meath
  6. Darren Kearns 2015 – 05 Feb 2015 – car park of Cumiskey’s pub, Blackhorse Ave., D7

Appendix 3 – Double murders

  1. Eddie McCabe and Catherine Brennan (1995)
  2. Darren Carey and Patrick Murray (1999)
  3. Darren Geoghegan and Gavin Byrne (2005)
  4. Martin ‘Marlo’ Hyland and Anthony Campbell (2006)
  5. Brian Downes and Eddie Ward (2007)
  6. Alan Napper and David ‘Babyface’ Lindsay (2008)
  7. Michael ‘Roly’ Cronin and James Moloney (2009)
  8. Paddy Mooney and Brendan Molyneaux (2010)
  9. Kenneth Corbally and Paul Corbally (2010)
  10.  Mark Noonan and Glen Murphy (2010)
  11.  Andrew Barry and Zilvinas Varnauskas (2012)
  12.  Joseph Redmond and Anthony Burnett (2012)
  13.  Eoin O’Connor and Anthony Keegan (2014)
  14.  Willie Maughan and Anna Varslavane (2015)
  15.  Antoinette Corbally and Clinton Shannon (2017)


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