Gang Boss Shot Dead: Real IRA Member Held

Gang Boss Shot Dead: Real IRA Member Held

A convicted member of the Real IRA is in custody following the murder of one of Ireland's most notorious criminals.

Eamon Kelly was shot dead after being chased down the road near his home in north Dublin, just two years after he escaped a similar attempt on his life when the attacker's gun jammed.

Dubbed "The Godfather" by Dublin's tabloid press, the 65-year-old was shot up to six times as he attempted to flee the gunman, according to police.

He was found injured on a footpath and died later in Beaumont Hospital.

A 32-year-old arrested near the scene on Furry Park Road in Killester is said to be a close associate of Real IRA leader Alan Ryan, who was murdered in September.

The suspect from south Dublin was previously jailed for Real IRA membership and his gang is suspected of being involved in a spate of shootings and pipebomb attacks. He is being questioned by police in Clontarf.

Kelly's crime empire has reportedly been at odds with Real IRA figures, who in recent years have demanded a slice of criminal gangs' drug-trafficking profits in exchange for not killing their members or burning down their business fronts.

Such killings have become regular occurrences in working-class parts of Dublin and the southwest city of Limerick, where two rival crime clans, the Keane-Collopy and McCarthy-Dundon gangs, have been killing each other - and occasionally innocent civilians - for a decade.

Fourteen other people have been shot dead in attacks linked to criminal gangs or disputes in the Irish capital this year.

Police allege that Kelly was a leading member of a gang which, working with the IRA, robbed banks and armoured-car cash shipments in Dublin in the 1980s and became a pioneer of Ireland's burgeoning cocaine trade.

In 1993, he became Ireland's first gangland boss to be convicted of possessing cocaine and received a 14-year prison sentence.

Since leaving prison a decade ago, Kelly has overseen a sharp rise in tit-for-tat violence, according to authorities.

Police allege his longtime associate, Eamon "the Don" Dunne, oversaw at least 17 murders from 2005 to his own death in 2010, when he was shot eight times in the head as he sat drinking in a Dublin pub.