NewsCrime Desk

REVEALED: The INLA gun thug who whipped up mob that held Burton's car

Crime DeskBy Nicola Tallant
INLA man Thomas Kelly
INLA man Thomas Kelly
MOB MENTALITY: Thomas Kelly is seen at the centre of water charges protest as he goads the crowd and clashes with gardai trying to protect Tánaiste Joan Burton
MOB MENTALITY: Thomas Kelly is seen at the centre of water charges protest as he goads the crowd and clashes with gardai trying to protect Tánaiste Joan Burton
MOB MENTALITY: Thomas Kelly is seen at the centre of water charges protest as he goads the crowd and clashes with gardai trying to protect Tánaiste Joan Burton
MOB MENTALITY: Thomas Kelly is seen at the centre of water charges protest as he goads the crowd and clashes with gardai trying to protect Tánaiste Joan Burton
MOB MENTALITY: Thomas Kelly is seen at the centre of water charges protest as he goads the crowd and clashes with gardai trying to protect Tánaiste Joan Burton
MOB MENTALITY: Thomas Kelly is seen at the centre of water charges protest as he goads the crowd and clashes with gardai trying to protect Tánaiste Joan Burton

This is the INLA gun thug at the centre of a ‘peaceful protest’ against water charges in Tallaght last week which saw Tánaiste Joan Burton surrounded and trapped in her car for four hours.

Thomas Kelly, who goes by his Irish name Tomas O’Ceallaigh, is seen at the frontline of protesters at Jobstown, angrily facing up to gardai as they try to quell a mob that confronted the Labour leader and attempted to overturn her car.

The thug was jailed by the Special Criminal Court for handing a deadly Glock pistol and 50 rounds of ammunition to a prominent INLA member in Dundalk and served three and a half years in prison.

It is understood he served his time in the E block in Portlaoise Prison, but was released in 2012 when he returned to live in Tallaght with his partner and young children.

Since then he has become a leading light in the Irish Republican Socialist Party – the political wing of the INLA – who are amongst the dissident groups trying to infiltrate the peaceful protests.

These exclusive pictures will add to fears that a sinister terror element is hijacking the protests.

This week gardai stepped up armed guards around members of the Government after Environment Minister Alan Kelly received four death threats including one that “we will put a bullet in his head”.

A Sunday World investigation today reveals how Kelly was in the thick of protesters at Jobstown in Tallaght, shouting in the face of uniformed officers as they tried to contain the mob intent on terrorising the Tánaiste

We can reveal that gardai identified the terror thug at the centre of one of the most-sinister protests to date after trawling through hours of footage and photographs of the angry clashes.

A similar investigation in Limerick has discovered ‘Tiny’ Joe Lynch, who appeared in court in Northern Ireland earlier this week charged with terrorism offences, attended a recent anti-water rally in the city.  

The father of Continuity IRA assassin Rose Lynch was brought before Newry Magistrates this week. He was among 12 people arrested on November 10 at a house in the town by police investigating the activities of the Continuity IRA, including alleged plots to murder police and judges.

Our picture shows Lynch holding a banner and marching with the people of Limerick against the water charges.

Senior gardai have voiced their concerns that a sinister dissident element had infiltrated groups protesting against the charges and blamed them for a barrage of attacks on Gardai trying to safeguard staff installing the meters.


Now our pictures prove that convicted terrorists are indeed at the centre of some of the most troubling clashes to date.

Installation company, GMC Sierra, postponed further work in key areas after a High Court order creating a 20-metre exclusion zone around their workers. It has since emerged that the meters will no longer be necessary as the Government have backed away from measured utilisation of water amid the uproar.

It is believed that along with the INLA and the Continuity IRA, activists associated with members of the Real IRA factions once led by murdered extremist Alan Ryan, have hijacked protests on the northside of Dublin.

Violence escalated last week outside Coolock Garda Station when a large group of demonstrators gathered, including, gardai believe, the sinister dissident element. Two officers were attacked during the incident.

Meanwhile, gardai are investigating a death threat to a Fine Gael TD after he made comments comparing water charge protesters to ISIS militants.

Tipperary TD Noel Coonan said that protesters in Dublin were “parasites” who were “living off country people”.

To date, the Jobstown protest has been one of the most concerning. During the stand-off, newly-elected Socialist TD Paul Murphy took on a leading role as it progressed and continued to use his loud hailer as the Tánaiste was trapped in her car and surrounded.

But as our exclusive photographs show,  the threat of real terror was not far from Ms Burton TD as  some leading dissidents were in fact urging on the crowd.

Kelly, a former soldier, has been putting his bulk behind those legitimately voicing their concerns against paying for water.

He was caught on camera in Tallaght goading gardai trying to quell tensions and staging a sit-in as Ms Burton was locked into her car.

In a video posted by the Irish Republican Socialist Party, he can be seen pushing against a wall of gardai trying to protect the Tánaiste.

Kelly was jailed for three and a half years by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin after pleading guilty to having the high powered gun and ammunition in Dundalk.

The 33-year-old father of two who stays at Cushlawn in Tallaght was being watched by an undercover surveillance unit when he went to meet notorious killer Eugene Kelly, a veteran INLA man from Dundalk.

He drove into a pub car park and handed a Meteor phone box to the older man, but was arrested as he tried to walk back to his own car. Armed gardai swooped and discovered that the box contained a Glock and the ammunition.

The Special Criminal Court heard that there were two children in his car at the time and immediately after his arrest he said: “Can I see my kids? I know I don’t deserve it with what I’ve done.”

Detective Garda Charlie Geoghegan told the SCC that Kelly had joined the army in 2005 and was stationed in Dundalk and Monaghan, but had gone AWOL three years later until the time of his arrest.

He applied for discharge from the Defence Forces after he was nabbed by cops and was granted it. Under oath he told the court he would not associate with anyone associated with violence and said: “I am disgusted with myself. I was in fear when I was asked to deliver the box. I knew there was something wrong.”

Eugene Kelly, who was receiving the gun, previously served 15 years of a life sentence for the murder of Dundalk publican Cecil Black, who had died from injuries he received during a robbery in April 1992.

He received a 10 year sentence in July 2009 for the incident with the Glock.