Veronica Guerin was a crime reporter for the Sunday Independent before she was murdered by gangsters who controlled the drug trade in Dublin. In 1996 she was fatally shot while stopped at a traffic light. The shooting caused national outrage in Ireland. Investigation into her death led to a number of arrests and convictions and major clampdown of drugs and criminal gangs throughout Ireland, Dublin in particular.

Born in Dublin in 1958, Veronica Guerin was an athlete in school and played on the Irish national teams for both football and basketball. After studying accountancy she ran a public-relations firm, Veronica also was a personal assistant to Charles Haughey before working for the political party Fianna Fáil and for Seán Haughey in particular, who was the son of Charles Haughey, a former Prime Minister (Taoiseach).

She became a reporter in 1990 and start writing for the Sunday Business Post and Sunday Tribune, however she would switch to writing as a crime reporter, writing for the Sunday Independent in 1994. Veronica Guerin could well be described as an old fashioned reporter who would pursue stories and actually investigate sources and stories to get first hand information. This allowed her to build trust and relationships with both the Gardai (Police) and criminals, she gained a lot of respect from both sides who would provide her with highly detailed information. 

Though she had gained respect from both sides, some were not always happy about having their details printed in the newspapers, Veronica would use the nicknames, in place of their real names to avoid libel laws and to print the stories.

When she start reporting about drug dealers the threats began. After she wrote a story about one criminal in Dublin criminal, Martin “The General” Cahill two shots were fired into her home. A day after writing a story about another well known criminal in Dublin, on 30th January 1995 she answered her door at home to find a man pointing a gun at her, the gunman fired but shot her in the leg instead. Not willing to back down she continued to write, the Gardai (Police) provided her with 24 hour protection, however, Veronica saw this as a hindrance and interfered in her work.

Veronica Guerin would soon become involved with a criminal that would prove to be fatal. On 13 September 1995, John Gilligan Irelands top criminal at the time, attacked her when she confronted him about his lavish lifestyle with no source of income. He later called her at home and threatened to kidnap her son, and kill her if she wrote anything about him. Veronica being the top reporter that she was continued her reporting.

On the of 25 June 1996, Gilligan gang members Charles Bowden, Brian Meehan, Kieran ‘Muscles’ Concannon, Peter Mitchell and Paul Ward had met at a premises in the Greenmount Industrial Estate. Charles Bowden had supplied the gang with a Colt Python revolver loaded with .357 Magnum bullets.

On 26 June 1996, while driving her car, Veronica Guerin stopped at traffic lights on the Naas Dual Carriageway near Newlands Cross, on the outskirts of Dublin, unaware she was being followed. A motorcycle with two men pulled up beside her and she was shot six times, fatally, by one of two men.

Veronica Guerins death caused a national outrage, the Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) John Bruton called it an attack on democracy & the Irish Parliament (Oireachtas) passed the Proceeds of Crime Act and the Criminal Assets Bureau Act in 1996, which meant that assets bought with money from the proceeds of crime could be seized by the Government.

Over 150 gangsters were arrested during the operation in Veronica Guerins death along with seizures of drugs and weapons, with the arrest of John Gilligan, Paul “Hippo” Ward, Charles Bowden, Patrick “Dutchy” Holland & Brian Meehan leading to convictions and sentences for the murder. Charles Bowden became the first criminal to enter into Ireland’s Witness Protection Program in exchange for his testimony against the other four gang members.

Sources:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/7733654/Veronica-Guerin.html
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/apr/09/ireland
https://people.com/archive/killed-for-her-courage-vol-60-no-18/

Owen Forsyth

Web Designer, Teacher, Artist, Writer, 3D & Visual Effects, DJ

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