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Thursday, 16 February 2012

Darren Geoghegan (26) and Gavin Byrne (30) – were shot dead in a car in Firhouse, south Dublin, as part of the feud. Doyle is believed to have been paid by one of the Crumlin-Drimnagh gangs to carry out those murders.

17:08 |

PEOPLE WHO knew Barry Doyle say he had it all. He was a good- looking young man who excelled at sport, a good student who was skilled with his hands when he chose to put them to good use.

He was from Portland Row on the deprived mean streets of Dublin’s north inner city, and was educated just a few hundred yards from his home, at O’Connell’s CBS on North Richmond Street.
As a student he played Gaelic football and was regarded as a hugely talented player. He went on to serve time as a bricklayer, but never qualified, having lost his way as his teenage years gave way to his 20s.
“In many ways he was a golden child,” said someone who knew him.
“He genuinely did have it all. When people who he knew then heard his name on the television the first time he was in court for the killing in Limerick, they were stunned.
“It stopped you in your tracks; to think that all he had going for him and yet that’s what he ended up doing. But it was the brother that dragged him down into the gutter, everyone knows that.”
The brother of whom the source speaks was Paddy Doyle; a gun for hire whose notorious career was brought to an end in a hail of bullets in Spain four years ago.
In November 2005, when a rapid round of blood-letting in Dublin brought a gang feud in Crumlin-Drimnagh to public prominence, Paddy Doyle was front and centre of that violence.
On November 13th, two men – Darren Geoghegan (26) and Gavin Byrne (30) – were shot dead in a car in Firhouse, south Dublin, as part of the feud. Doyle is believed to have been paid by one of the Crumlin-Drimnagh gangs to carry out those murders.
Less than 48 hours later, when Noel Roche (27) was shot dead as he sat in traffic on the seafront in Clontarf, north Dublin, Doyle was again the chief suspect. That killing was also part of the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud.
Three years earlier, when Joseph Rattigan (18) was shot dead in Drimnagh in the second murder in the feud, the Garda’s intelligence coming from criminal contacts fingered Paddy Doyle.
By the time he was himself shot dead in February 2008, while driving from a gym near Marbella in a 4x4 BMW, he had already introduced his kid brother Barry into his world.
Paddy Doyle had significant contacts, not only among gangs in Dublin, but also in Limerick, having met some of the McCarthy- Dundon gang in prison.
The Doyle brothers spent time together in Spain, where Barry was inducted into the company of the Dublin and Limerick thugs living it large on the Costa.
There was evidence at his trial that he first met members of the McCarthy-Dundon gang at his brother’s home near Malaga. When Paddy was shot dead, Barry Doyle continued the relationship with his brothers’ Limerick associates.
Despite having only minor convictions, for driving offences and drink-related public-order issues, by the second half of 2008 and into 2009, he had moved to Limerick and was dealing drugs.
He was effectively living in the bosom of the McCarthy-Dundons.
So integrated was he into the gangland family that gardaí believe he went out to kill for them on the night Shane Geoghegan was shot; not for money like his brother had done, but because he was a fully fledged member of the gang.
He was expected to play his part when it moved against its enemies.
But instead of killing the gang’s target – a Limerick man called John McNamara – Doyle mistook Geoghegan for McNamara and shot the rugby player.
The murder led to an outpouring of public revulsion, with then minister for justice Dermot Ahern describing it as “an absolutely awful killing committed by scum”.
Following the murder in Limerick of Roy Collins just months earlier, new anti-gangland laws had been drawn up, but they had stalled by the time Geoghegan was shot. Just two days after Geoghegan’s murder, Ahern and then taoiseach Brian Cowen met the then Garda commissioner Fachtna Murphy for a crisis summit. It was decided the laws would be fast-tracked and they were enacted seven months later.
They allowed for more gangland trials to be held in the non-jury Special Criminal Court, they created a specific offence of participating in a gang and enabled gardaí to use phone taps as evidence in court.
While regarded as a radical departure at the time, the laws have proved ineffective, with the DPP proving unwilling to take such cases to the courts.
The murder led to a show of resilience among the people of Limerick. Thousands turned out for Geoghegan’s funeral and they clapped the hearse carrying his body through the streets. Hundreds of thousands signed petitions for an end to violence in the city.
A sporting foundation for at-risk children was established in his honour and his number 3 jersey from the Garryowen Thirds was retired for good.
Last November, three years after his death, “A pitch for Shane”, comprising more than 1,000 ceramic pieces made in his memory, and sent to Limerick from all over the world, was put on display in Limerick.
Yesterday, Garryowen FC president Eoghan Prendergast said clubs as far away as New Zealand had sent messages of support and that the people of Limerick had been galvanised by Geoghegan’s murder.
“Limerick is represented by Shane Geoghegan, not the people who killed him,” he said. “The killing galvanised the community into saying ‘this cannot go on any longer’.”DISCLAIMER:Text may be subject to copyright.This blog does not claim copyright to any such text. Copyright remains with the original copyright holder

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