NewsCrime Desk

Shocking reality of gangland hit on Vinnie Ryan

Vinnie Ryan
Vinnie Ryan

REAL IRA gunman Vinnie Ryan lies helpless on the ground as blood pumps from bullet wounds to his throat and temple as paramedics battle to save his life.


At 3.11pm on Monday afternoon four shots rang out on leafy McKee Road in Finglas before the four-man hit team who targeted the younger brother of slain terror chief Alan Ryan sped from the scene.

Such was the velocity of the rounds fired that one bullet grazed the window of a house on the opposite side of the road, where an elderly woman was minding her grandchild.

The shocking photograph of Vinnie Ryan bears a remarkable resemblance to one taken following the death of his brother three-and-a-half years earlier.

As the murder raises tensions on the streets of Dublin, the Sunday World can reveal how:

  • Chief suspect ‘Mr Big’ provided Gardaí with a shopping receipt as an alibi for the murder.
  • The gang boss has forged close ties with mobster Paul Rice.
  • Vinnie Ryan had no knowledge the car he was driving had links to the Kinahan mob.
  • No shots will be fired over Ryan’s coffin.

Following the murder, suspicion instantly fell on the Dublin gang boss  known as Mr Big because he had previously made a number of attempts to kill Ryan.

However, Mr Big managed to have himself recorded on CCTV in Dublin city centre at the exact time Ryan was shot dead several miles away in Finglas.

The gang boss is also the chief suspect in ordering the murder of Vinnie’s brother Alan in 2012.

Officers called to Mr Big’s home shortly after the shooting, but he had an alibi for the time of the murder.

Mr Big

A source said: “He was in town buying a shirt and has a receipt for 3.16pm – almost the exact time Ryan was shot dead. The shop has CCTV so he couldn’t get a better alibi.”

Mr Big is regarded as one of the biggest distributors of drugs in the country and his gang are responsible for up to 10 murders. Although he previously operated independently of the Kinahans, he has recently forged close ties with the Spanish-based cartel.

Kinahan mob enforcer Paul Rice has nurtured a close relationship with Mr Big over the past two years, ever since the murder of his pal Gerard ‘Hatchet’ Kavanagh.

He has remained in constant contact with him and the pair have been seen meeting in north Dublin and in the Crumlin area.

It is understood that Rice and Mr Big regularly meet up and Gardaí suspect that they have invested funds together on drug shipments.

While detectives have now ruled out Mr Big being part of the four-man hit team directly involved in the shooting, his gang remain high on the list of suspects in terms of carrying out the attack.

Dad-of-one Vinnie had been under continuous threat from the gang since his release from Portlaoise Prison in October 2013, when he was acquitted of firearms charges.

However, a senior source told the Sunday World that Gardaí are also looking at other theories and have a strong interest in where the getaway car was found. The car was discovered in Red Lane, Newhall, Naas, Co. Kildare, shortly after the killing.

Ryan had previously been living in Co. Kildare and had come into conflict with a number of criminals in the area.  

Ryan’s family are extremely upset that Vinnie is being linked to the Kinahan Cartel through the Volkswagen Golf he was driving.

Ryan bought the car from a dealership in Finglas several weeks before his death. In a bizarre coincidence, the vehicle had been registered to Active Car Sales – the company owned by slain Kinahan cartel lieutenant David Byrne, who was gunned down in the Regency Hotel shooting.

It’s understood that Active Car Sales had passed on the vehicle to the Finglas dealership.

Ryan’s brother Dermot last night said:  “It has been alleged that Vincent was driving a car previously owned by a drug dealer. Vincent purchased the car from a well-known garage in the Dublin area, and we have provided the garda with the purchase documents and the identity of the garage.

“Vincent, just like any other citizen who purchases a car in a garage, would not be aware of who the previous owners were.”

Dermot Ryan carries his brother's coffin at yesterday's funeral for Vinnie Ryan, a gallery and footage of the poignant scenes can be seen here

This week, shocked neighbours who raced to Vinnie’s aid this week told the Sunday World how, despite being shot in the throat and the temple, the 25-year-old remained conscious for some minutes after the shooting.

“It was exactly 3.11pm when I heard the shots because I was on the phone and saw the time,” a neighbour said. “I ran up and saw a fella holding a towel to his throat and at that stage his body was still in the driver seat.

“The blood was pumping from his throat, but they’d also shot him in the temple.

“Then his poor girlfriend ran out. She was screaming ‘get an ambulance, get an ambulance’.

“He looked like he was still conscious, he was moving his head, but there was so much blood. It was spurting out from the wound in his throat and coming out of his mouth.

 “You’d have said there and then he was dead, but you could hear him fighting for every breath.”

Our picture shows gardaí and ambulance workers desperately working on Ryan.

The scene is almost a macabre mirror image of pictures taken three-and-a-half years earlier following the shooting of Alan Ryan in Donaghmede.

It also bears a remarkable similarity to the photographs taken following the murder of Ryan’s close pal, ‘Fat’ Deccy Smith.

Paramedics moved Vinnie Ryan’s body from the seat of the car and lay him on the ground where they commenced a desperate battle to save his life.

“I heard the fella who was trying to stop the blood telling the gardaí the make and part of the reg of the getaway car and told them the direction it had gone in. He said there was four people in it – I heard him tell them that,” the neighbour continued.

Fifty metres away and on the opposite side of the road a bullet which ricocheted from the frame of Vinnie’s Volkswagen GTI was found by gardaí in the front garden of a retired couple’s home.

“The bullet grazed the window but didn’t go through,” the resident told the Sunday World.

“My wife was in there with our grand-daughter. The gardaí were up here afterwards and they found the bullet lying there on the ground.”

Speaking on behalf of his family, Dermot said his brother had not been a member of the IRA at the time of his death.

He added that Vinnie was solely concerned with building his business as a barber and creating a family life with his partner Kelly and newborn baby Phoenix.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, he will not receive a military funeral. We would ask that the media and the State would allow us to bury him with honour and dignity.

“The family calls for no retaliation and for an end to the senseless violence being carried out on our streets by drug gangs,” he said.

Alan Sherry and Patrick O’Connell