Well, it certainly was one of those days. And nights. Starting with a gangland murder at breakfast time and finishing with another, 12 hours later.
The immediate reaction from hacks was that the second murder, that of Declan O’Reilly in Dublin was in retaliation for the earlier murder of Gerard Eglington in Laois – both of them killed in front of their children. Eglington was a senior member of the Rattigan gang – one of two south Dublin gangs engaged in a feud that has so far resulted in 14 murders.
I went down to the O’Reilly murder scene on Dublin’s South Circular Road. On my way a very reliable source text me back saying the O’Reilly murder was not linked to Eglington. I informed the news desk. Then a second source – also reliable – informs me that O’Reilly was part of the Rattigan gang and that the rival (Thompson) gang had taken two out on the same day. I duly informed my news desk.
*Here is my report in today’s paper and some phone snaps I took from the scene, near the SCR Mosque.
A note to people who are not journalists who might think that everything is laid out nice and neat for crime hacks. It ain’t. You are scrambling around trying to find out what has happened. You either can’t get through to sources or, worse, as in this case, you get conflicting reports.
All the meantime you are travelling to/at a scene and the clock is ticking. In the case of the Irish Examiner we have a very early deadline for page 1.
Eventually, after constantly missing each other, I get through to my first source, who tells me at length the O’Reilly murder is definitely not linked. I ring the desk and inform them of the situation and they have a few minutes to rewrite the story. It was salvaged, but certainly wasn’t perfect.
As I previously said, gangland murders typically operate to cycles with no discernable patterns. They can happen anytime. And when is the best time to hit? Often when another murder has just taken place.
Things can be quiet for a long time – as they have been this spring and summer – and then gang violence suddenly erupts again. We’ve had four gangland murders this month, two in Dublin, one in Laois and one in Limerick – each of them liable/likely to result in retaliation.