NewsCrime Desk

Gangland figure may have been targeted for returning to crime

Tommy 'The Zombie' Savage
Tommy 'The Zombie' Savage

VETERAN gangland figure Tommy ‘the Zombie’ Savage may have been targeted in a murder plot after returning to crime to help out a young associate.

The notorious gangster (66), who is a convicted drug smuggler and former member of the INLA, was targeted while sitting in Renault Clio car in Rathbeale Crescent in Swords, north Dublin, shortly after 7pm on Friday.

A gunman fired up to eight shots, leaving the car riddled with bullets, but somehow Savage managed to avoid any injuries.

Savage then ran from the vehicle and suffered a fracture to his wrist as he jumped over a wall to escape the gunman.

He ran to the nearby JC’s supermarket as gardaí rushed to the scene.

A black Audi getaway vehicle was later found burnt out near Dublin Airport.

Savage was a major player in Ireland’s underworld in previous decades through his involvement in armed robbery and drugs and weapons trafficking, as well as being a member of the INLA.

He fled Ireland in the 1990s following a death threat from the IRA, but continued running a criminal operation from a base in the Netherlands.

He was sentenced to five years by a Greek Court in 2005 after being convicted of trying to smuggle four tons of cannabis into Greece from Holland in 1997.

Gardaí are investigating a number of lines of inquiry including that Savage was targeted after returning to crime to help out a younger close associate.

The younger associate is known to Gardaí for his involvement in crime, including armed robbery and drugs, and Gardaí are investigating whether he had enlisted the support of the veteran gangster as part of his operation in recent times.

“The younger man had been stepping on a few toes and one line of inquiry is that Savage may have been targeted because of this,” said a source.

Gardaí are also investigating if there is any INLA link to the shooting, but sources said Savage was no longer considered to be closely linked to the INLA.

“He would have been a big player back in the day, but he wouldn’t be considered big time to any of the main gangs now,” said the source.

“They wouldn’t exactly be queueing up to work with him now. They wouldn’t trust him.”

After leaving Ireland Savage based himself in Amsterdam, from where he organised major international weapons and drugs shipments and forged links with George ‘the Penguin’ Mitchell and John Cunningham.

He also established strong links with international crime gangs and was a key figure in organising shipments into Europe from other continents.