NewsCrime Desk

Man arrested in connection with murder of Philip Finnegan is son of garda

Crime DeskBy Ken Foy
Philip Finnegan
Philip Finnegan

A garda's son was being held last night in relation to the murder of a 24-year-old man who was stabbed multiple times before his body was dumped in a shallow grave.

The arrest was made in Portlaoise at 1pm yesterday, and the suspect was being questioned at Leixlip Garda Station.

South inner city criminal Philip Finnegan was lured to his death and fatally stabbed in August.

His body was found in remote woodland near Carbury, Co Kildare, the following month.

The Herald previously revealed that a garda's son was the chief suspect.

Detectives have been working on the theory that a bitter cash dispute that Finnegan had with jailed killer Brian Rattigan led to the latter's mob deciding Finnegan had to be killed.

It is suspected that a 39-year-old Drimnagh criminal, who is considered Rattigan's right-hand man and has convictions for firearms and robbery offen- ces, was given the responsibility of "organising" Finnegan's murder.

It is believed the Drimnagh gangster then enlisted the garda's son, who knew Finnegan. Finnegan and the "extremely violent" garda's son then travelled from Dublin to Co Kildare.

This is the first arrest in the case, which is being investigated by Leixlip gardai, who launched an appeal for information in September.

Finnegan had been involved in a number of gang-related incidents, including one in August 2012 when shots were fired at him and his friend Owen Gaffney (26), on Lower Basin Street. Neither man was injured, and both refused to co-operate with the investigation.

A year earlier, Finnegan had given evidence in the trial of four gardai who were accused of assaulting Gaffney but later cleared.

In December 2012, a hatchet was thrown through the window of Finnegan's home at Mary Aikenhead House only hours after a violent disorder incident between two gangs at McDonald's restaurant in Grafton Street.

In January of last year, Finnegan was cleared of firearms charges after a judge ruled that gardai used a threat to induce him to confess to being the owner of a firearm found in a box of toys in his bedroom.

He had pleaded not guilty to unlawful possession of a blank-firing semi-automatic pistol at his home on March 14, 2013.

During a search of the property, gardai found the gun in a box that also contained toys and video games.