Eamonn Dunne was at one time Ireland’s most violent and feared gangland figure, believed to have been personally responsible for ordering at least 17 gangland hits. Educated and softly spoken, Dunne, known as “The Don” ruled Dublin’s drugs business with an iron fist, eliminating anyone who posed a threat.
He took control after the murder of crime boss Martin “Marlo” Hyland, who was shot dead in December 2006, an innocent victim Anthony Campbell was also killed in that attack. Campbell had been an apprentice plumber who working in the house at the time of Hyland’s assassination, the hitmen killed Campbell as he was a witness. Gardaí have always suspected that Dunne, drove the getaway car for the killers, who were also close associates of Hyland.
His first time being brought to police attention came in 2002 when he was caught during a raid on a house in Finglas with a large amount of cocaine and ecstasy. He fought the case to the Supreme Court, which he lost and was facing a 10-year jail term. A few months after the raid, Dunne was stopped in a car which was carrying a man who was bound and gagged in the boot. However, the kidnap victim never made a complaint and no charges were ever brought.
Like most of Dublin’s major criminals Dunne graduated through the ranks with armed robbery on their resume and is believed to have been involved in several high-profile armed robberies across Dublin between 2002 and 2005.
Dunne had a short but bloody reign when he took control of the gang, he was linked to 17 gangland murders over the next three years, by having rivals and suspected informers killed.
John Daly died in the early hours of October 22, 2007. Just months before his death, he had prompted a public outcry and subsequent clampdown on contraband in prisons when he rang Liveline from his cell in the maximum security prison in Portlaoise to confront journalist Paul Williams. He was nearing the end of a nine-year prison sentence at the time, Daly spent his last few months in isolation due to prisoners anger towards him.
On the night of his death, he was drinking with friends and family and went back home in a taxi, as he was searching for money to pay the fare when the gunman attacked, shooting repeatedly through the passenger window. Taxi driver Francis O’Neill was lucky to escape alive, he became trapped under Daly when he slumped over as he was being shot. “When the shots stopped I managed to press the button for the seat belt and I struggled out of the car.” he said.
Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that Daly was shot 6 times in the head and chest, he had been warned by gardaí that his life was in danger just one week before the attack. John Daly was believed to have been considering making a move of his own
Graham McNally was a close associate of Dunne’s but was shot dead by his own gang in January 2009. “At 1.40pm on January 20 the deceased came back on a flight into Ireland. He was collected by other associates,” an officer said. Later that day, Mr McNally and two other males were stopped at a routine Garda checkpoint.
Two weeks earlier, Dunne’s gang killed Michael “Roly” Cronin and his James Moloney in Summerhill, Dublin. A gunman is believed to have produced a handgun and shot the two men in the head and tried to make a getaway in a black, Northern-registered Volvo the car careered across the road and slammed into a barrier. Gardai were called initially to what was believed to be a traffic accident but found inside the car they discovered the two men. Gardai later recovered a pistol which they believe was the murder weapon.
The hitman is believed to have made his way to Spain and has been missing since, its suspected the gang used contacts in Spain to kill the man they hired to carry out the double-murder over fears he would turn Garda informer.
With the body count mounting and his increasing paranoid and erratic behaviour bringing unwanted attention, people had enough and led to his own gang members turning against him as they conspired with others to have him killed.
Eamonn “The Don” Dunne was murdered as he attended a friend’s birthday party at a pub in Cabra on 23 April 2010 in what was described as a professional hit.
Four men pulled up outside the Faussagh House bar in a silver VW Passat or a Ford Mondeo. 3 men got out of the car, one stayed outside the bar to stop people from entering, a second gunman who was armed with a revolver, stood just inside the pub door with his gun at the ready to shoot anybody who tried to lunge at the gunman.
The main gunmen walked over to Dunne, pushing people out of the way and began shooting at Dunne from behind, firing at least six shots from a 9mm gun. Dunne did not see the gunman approaching. A post-mortem confirmed he was shot six times in the back, head and face. Dunne’s 17-year-old daughter was present and witnessed the killing.
The gunman’s accomplice, who was armed with a revolver, fired a warning shot into the air. The pair returned to the car, which sped away immediately.
Garda sources said the killer knew where Dunne would be sitting in the pub. “They must have had somebody in there telling them exactly where he was sitting. The gunman walked straight for him and didn’t even need to get a look at his face to make sure it was the right person,”
At the time of his death, Dunne was on bail and awaiting trial in connection with a €900,000 robbery of a cash-in-transit van in Celbridge in 2007. No one has been convicted of his murder.