NewsCrime Desk

Gangland thug 'Buffalo' Billy warns how Real IRA members now 'legit targets'

Crime DeskBy Nicola Tallant
Billy Clare in the documentary
Billy Clare in the documentary

Psycho gangland thug ‘Buffalo’ Billy Clare has given an extraordinary TV interview claiming that he was part of a squad who expelled former INLA commander Declan ‘Wacker’ Duffy from Dublin and quipped: “He’s not dead, not dead yet.”

The former paramilitary has also laid down the gauntlet to members of the Real IRA, saying: “I see republicans in Dublin, the likes of the Real IRA, I class them now as a legitimate target.”

In an bizarre interview, the extortionist – who was quizzed in connection with the murder of father-of-three Stephen O’Meara, who was buried alive in Wicklow – also describes in chilling detail how former Westies thug Bernard Sugg was shot dead and left “squealing like a pig” by an INLA unit he claims he was a member of.

Clare has served a sentence for membership of the Continuity IRA (CIRA) after the Special Criminal Court heard that he had extorted money from club boss Dave Mooney on behalf of the organisation.

It is understood that the CIRA has since renounced him, despite the fact that he continued to use their name to strike terror into communities in Wicklow and Wexford.

In the interview, which is part of a series titled ‘Gangsters: Faces of the Underworld’ to be screened on Quest, the bulked-up thug describes himself as a soldier in the “war against drug dealers”.

Presenter Bernard O’Mahoney, a reformed U.K. criminal, introduces Clare as: “Billy Clare shoots and bombs drug dealers simply because he loathes them and the damage their vile trade does to society.

“Described by the Irish media as a psychotic thug who terrorises communities, Clare prefers to see himself as a man on a mission for the good of all.”

During the interview, Clare says that at an early age he became involved in the Wolfe Tone Society in London, which he says “springboarded” him into extreme republicanism and the Provisional IRA.

He says the sort of operations he was sent on by the IRA in Dublin were “mostly directed towards drug dealers and that kind of activity” and goes on to say that by targeting them he means “execute them”.

“You don’t come to fight big drug gangs who have assets behind them using Salvation Army tactics, you got to hit them with full strength and hit them with everything you got. And look for a weakness. And you find a weakness.

“You know, whether it’s kidnapping, shootings, petrol bombing, grenades, you know whatever is being used on them.

“People will support that because these people are devastating communities and they don’t care about what they sell or who they sell it to, so you must meet them with the same train of thought. You don’t care about them or their families.”

Clare says that the intended targets were never warned if they were going to be “kidnapped or punishment shootings or executed”.

O’Mahoney says that Clare’s hatred for drug dealers resulted in his expulsion from the IRA, but “the more extreme Republican INLA saw his passion to beat, shoot and bomb those who pedal misery as an asset rather than a hindrance”.

O’Mahoney reveals: “The INLA were much smaller, but had the same train of thought and it was, you know, extreme violence. There was people executed on the INLA’s watch.”

Clare tells the documentary that his time in the INLA came to an end around 2000, when he says: “You had the likes of Declan Duffy (pictured above), who was the leader of the INLA in Dublin.

“He was, you know, a character. He was involved in backing up drug dealers and supporting them while pretending to be some kind of a crusader against drug dealers. He was expelled and he was sent packing from the capital.”

Clare also claims to have details of the shooting of Bernard ‘Verb’ Sugg.

“We had one incident where they were causing chaos and havoc in Blanchardstown.

“Bernard Sugg, or Verb as they called him, he was asked to come to a meeting and when he came to the meeting he was asked to desist from activities and leave the area.

“He refused to do so and as a result of that meeting he was blasted twice in the stomach and left squealing on the ground like a pig and the rat he was.

“You have to show these people more violence than they have imagined because these people live on a pedestal that because you are a drug dealer they must be violent and feared.”

Bizarrely, Clare claims he was declared clinically dead after his arrest for the murder of 26-year-old O’Meara.

The Sunday World understands that while he was being questioned he collapsed and was brought to hospital with a suspected heart attack believed to have been brought on by steroids.

However, Clare tells a different tale, claiming he was surrounded by masked and armed police and was “rendered unconscious”.

“It was later on that day when I was rushed into hospital in Dublin where I was pronounced clinically dead for a short while,” he says.

Later it transpired that they had forced me to drink poison and there was absolutely no investigation into my attempted murder by the Irish police.”

He goes on to say he is no longer in any group and regards paramilitaries such as the Real IRA as a legitimate target for him now.

“I class them now as a legitimate target. As far as I’m concerned, they work hand in hand with senior drug dealers both here and in Spain.

“The leader of the Real IRA in Dublin, his name was Alan Ryan.

“He was an unscrupulous character, not very likeable fella, a womaniser and basically a coward and you know every dog has his day and I suppose drug dealers had enough of him because they were taking, taking, taking… and using money from themselves on holidays, cars, putting cameras outside their houses and you know lining their own pockets, showing signs of wealth.

“So I mean he met his demise and you know, I have as much sympathy  for him as I would for any other drug dealers.”

The Sunday World first unmasked Clare as a ‘gun for hire’ in 2010 when we attained a homemade video showing himself creeping about in a remote woodland and firing off one of his weapons.