The headline and opener caught Malcolm immediately:
Aran Islander stabbed his brother in land rowThus Ann Healy heading today's Irish Times HomeNews page, and quite rightly so.
A 43-year-old Aran islander who cut his brother four times with a fish knife following an ongoing dispute over land was given the benefit ofthe Probation Act ...
It is one of those tales that would have provided J.M.Synge or Sean O'Casey (or, more recently, Martin McDonagh) with material.
There are two brothers, Mike and John Faherty. Their uncle had willed both his small farms to the younger nephew. Then this gem:
The court was told John Faherty was very unhappy with his uncle's decision to leave both farms to his younger brother and he put his own cattle on to the land. Mike Faherty had put the cattle on to the road on a number of occasions and had told his brother to keep them off his land...What need to invent dialogue when it is given for free?
John Faherty told Judge Mary Fahy the assault had a very bad effect on him as he had been attacked by his own brother, who is 15 years his junior, with a knife in his own home.
He admitted he had been aggrieved by the fact their late uncle had left both farms of land to his younger brother even though he had been caring for the uncle for 10 years. "I minded him for 10 years and all I wanted was a bit of thanks but all I got was four stabs of the knife", the victim said.
Malcolm knew he had been here before:
I have lived in important places, timesPaddy Kavanagh, celebrating the majestic squabbles of the County Monaghan, gives us one of the finest sonnets of the twentieth century in Epic.
When great events were decided, who owned
That half a rood of rock, a no-man's land
Surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims.
I heard the Duffys shouting "Damn your soul!"
And old McCabe stripped to the waist, seen
Step the plot defying blue cast-steel -
"Here is the march along these iron stones."
That was the year of the Munich bother. Which
Was more important? I inclined
To lose my faith in Ballyrush and Gortin
Till Homer's ghost came whispering to my mind.
He said: I made the Iliad from such
A local row. Gods make their own importance.
Meanwhile, the Celtic Tiger's dirty droppings befoul the wider landscape. A couple of pages on, also under HomeNews, comes this:
Irish 'gang wars' exported to Spain - GilmoreThe essence here is that Paddy Doyle was in a BMW SUV, driven by Gary Hutch, the nephew of another Dublin hood, Gerry "Monk" Hutch. They were on their way to meet a British contact. At the appropriately-named La Cancelada, near Estepona, the BMW was ambushed, crashed and raked with bullets. Doyle and Hutch ran for it; but the attackers shot Doyle twice in the head. The update is that a large cache of cocaine, nigh on €10M worth, has been seized from nearby.
Ireland appears to have exported its "gang wars' to Spain, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore suggested in the Dáil yesterday, in the wake of the murder of a known Dublin drug dealer on the Costa Del Sol on Monday.
The Labour leader, who repeated his comment that 78 murders in 2007 represented the highest number of killings in the State since the Civil War, with the gun murder in Sligo and the attempted murder in Dublin of a well-known criminal.
Doyle is the latest casualty in the great North Dublin drugs war.
There are two gangs: the Crumlin lot (the Gavin/Thompson gang, who may or may not be under the wing of old-hand Martin "Viper" Foley) versus the Rattigans of Drimnagh. These are the young, thrusting newcomers, making their mark where once self-effacing Martin "The General" Cahill (cleaned up by the IRA, 1994, but pictured, left) ruled the roost. The cause of this feud seems to go back to 1998, when Declan Gavin was serving an apprenticeship in small-time crime and drug-trafficking. He had his bike and the family car vandalized, thus causing a rupture with the Rattigans.
- Trouble flared in 2001 with the first murder. Declan Gavin had been head of the Crumlin boys. Gavin and a mate were "cutting" a consignment of cocaine in the Holiday Inn, Pearse Street, when the Gardaí raided. Gavin had been caught in a previous raid; and was now suspect of grassing. He was taken out in a stabbing (August 2001). That one is still going through the courts.
- Brian Rattigan (St Patrick's Day, 2002) was badly shot up at his home. A witness (who later recanted) identified "Fat Freddie" Thompson as the gun-man. There was a further gun attack on a Rattigan affiliate, Colm Smith, in May 2002: Smith then refused to talk to the Gardaí. "Fat Freddie" was now in jug (driving offences!, but also for giving a false name and aiding the escape of an arrestee).
- To celebrate Brian Rattigan's release from hospital (July 2002), Doyle of the Gavin/Thompson gang shot Joe Rattigan of the Drimnagh mob.
- On 25 January 2004, in the toilet of Gray's pub, Paul Warren of the Crumlin team was shot by two of the Rattigans, a further revenge murder. Brian Rattigan went inside at Portlaoise for drugs and firearms (10 years) and heroin possession (4 years). Apparently, through mobile phones and runners, he still controls his gang.
- The next to go (March 2005) was John Roche, a Rattigan dealer. He was shot, allegedly by Darren Geoghegan, one of four of the same team that shot Joe Rattigan.
- 14 April 2005, Terence Dunleavy, a dealer, shot in the head. The motorbike used by the killer belonged to a relative of "Fat Freddie", so this was another Thompson execution.
- Then, two for one, Darren Geoghegan and Gavin Byrne were executed, perhaps by their own Crumlin side, but more likely as a reprisal, even on a contract basis.
- Doyle struck again, 13 November 2005, shooting John Roche's elder brother, Noël, who has been identified as the Rattigan enforcer.
- Late summer, 2006, and two more in quick succession: Wayne Zambra (assumed to be part of the team that killed Paul Warren) buys it: again, this is likely to be an internal job; and Gary Bryan, who was the gunman in the Paul Warren murder, was released from gaol and promptly dealt with in a drive-by killing.
- Then Eddie McCabe, last December, who had been in on the Zambra murder, was (for a change) beaten to death. He may have been stabbed through the eye.
- Now Doyle himself.
One day, no doubt, an enterprising coach-operator will be offering tours of the North Dublin badlands, visiting all these points of interest. After all, almost everything else in Dublin is up for sale.
It all seems a long way away from the domestic disputes of the Arans or of Inniskeen. So which is the "real" Ireland?
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