Eamonn Kelly cut his teeth as an armed robber during the 1980s. The group he worked with specialised in armed robberies of cash deliveries, and were behind some of the biggest heists of the decade. He was one of the first men in Irish history to be convicted of attempting to import cocaine into the country.
In 1988, Kelly was jailed for three years for an assault on a member of the Worker’s Party outside a club near the party’s headquarters in Gardiner Place, Dublin. Kelly also has convictions for offences including shop-breaking, house-breaking and breach of the peace. In the early ’90s, Kelly became one of Ireland’s first criminals to be jailed for bringing a major consignment of cocaine into the country. In May 1993, he was sentenced to 14 years behind bars after he was caught with almost a kilogram of cocaine following a garda surveillance operation.
Kelly was described as a popular and clever gangland figure and was believed to have been friendly with most of Dublin’s major crime gangs. “Kelly would know every major figure on Dublin’s Northside.” Eamonn Kelly was seen as the mastermind behind the rise of some of Dublin’s most notorious criminals, especially two of Ireland’s most infamous gang bosses, Eamonn ‘The Don’ Dunne and Martin ‘Marlo’ Hyland. Both Marlo Hyland and Eamonn Dunne were assassinated in brutal gangland killings, in 2006 and 2010.
Gardai were trying to build a case against Kelly for allegedly organising the intimidation of two individuals at the behest of two builders. Detectives believed that serious credible threats were made against a number of people. Eamonn Kelly was lifted by officers from the Organised Crime Unit (OCU) along with two men, a 77-year-old and a 28-year-old. The builders, who they were allegedly working on behalf of were also arrested but all five men were released and Gardai are preparing a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)
But despite his popularity among the underworld, in 2010 Gardai told Kelly that a credible threat had been made against his life by Two Brothers from north Dublin, and advised him to re-examine his personal security, as is the protocol. Two Brothers were behind a murder attempt in Killester, north Dublin, Eamon Kelly escaped unhurt after his would-be assassin’s gun jammed.
Eamonn Kelly, however was murdered two years later on the 4th December 2012, near the same spot where the previous attempt on his life was, Kelly was shot four times in the back and died of his wounds later.