Vinnie Ryan refused peace talks with Mr Big
Ireland's latest gangland murder victim was urged to have a "sit-down meeting" with the arch criminal who is suspected of ordering his fatal shooting but refused to consider the idea, the Herald can reveal.
Vinnie Ryan (25) was urged by some of his closest pals and associates to have a meeting with the gangster nicknamed 'Mr Big' in the weeks after he was stabbed in the face in vicious attack in Dublin's north inner-city last October.
However, Ryan refused to entertain the idea that he could "make peace" with the gangster he blamed for ordering the murder of his older brother, Alan.
"It is not the case that Vinnie snubbed Mr Big - he hated that man's guts," said a source.
"The situation was that people who really cared about Vinnie wanted him to try and reach out for a sit-down to end all the madness that has been going on.
"But it never got anywhere because Vinnie didn't want anything to do with that individual and was never going to meet him.
"Who knows if it would have ever come to anything or if the gang boss would have agreed to it."
The meeting was supposed to take place in the weeks after Ryan was subjected to a horrific knife attack on the evening of October 29, which happened in front of his then pregnant 24-year-old partner who was walking with him at Parnell Square North.
There were major concerns at the time that the knife might have severed an artery because of the amount of blood Ryan lost, but they proved unfounded and he was released from the Mater Hospital after two days.
There has been much speculation that the knife attack was ordered by the 'Mr Big' mob, but this has never been proved.
There is no doubt, however, that Ryan and his pals blamed the drugs mob for organising the attack, which is believed to have been carried out by a north inner-city heroin addict.
Gardai believe it is "unlikely" that dissident republican associates of Ryan will be able to hit back quickly in a revenge attack for Monday's murder.
"Vinnie's older brother, Alan, was murdered well over three years ago and the IRA faction were not able to do anything significant against the drugs gang in all that time, so it's not likely they'll be able to do anything imminently here either," said a source.
This is despite the revelation last year that thugs linked to Vinnie Ryan had a car ready to be used at a moment's notice to kill the Coolock gangster believed to have organised his brother's murder.
Last night, the shadowy 32 County Sovereignty Movement, to which Vinnie and Alan Ryan belonged, issued a statement calling for an end to the violence.
"Words cannot express the magnitude of the loss Vincent's death must mean to his family, having suffered the tragedy of his brother, Volunteer Alan Ryan's death a few years previously," the group said.
"This violence is insidious and must stop. It is the duty of all republicans to ensure that it does."
Alan Ryan (32) was shot dead as he walked with friends on Grange Lodge Avenue, Clongriffin, on the afternoon of September 3, 2012.
Gardai now face the prospect of policing Vinnie Ryan's funeral after a paramilitary show of force was staged at Alan Ryan's burial in September 2012.
Details of the funeral have not yet been released, but it is expected to be next week.
Vinnie Ryan is believed to have been shot dead because of his bitter opposition to the 'Mr Big' drugs mob.
That dispute led to a number of incidents in which he was targeted.
Last October's knife attack came only six months after gardai foiled another suspected attempt on his life.
'Mr Big' was believed to have been on his way to carry out the hit himself when gardai tried to stop him in a car last April in the Donaghmede area.
He was with another known criminal when the pair were spotted in the same area as Ryan by a member of the public.
Gardai recognised 'Mr Big' and went to pull him over. However, he sped off and managed to get away.
Detectives suspect there was a weapon in the car and he may have been on his way to kill Ryan.
A similar incident was reported to gardai in late November, but again no one was injured and there were no arrests.
The 'Mr Big' gang are suspected of being behind a firebomb attack outside Ryan's family home in Donaghmede on the night of April 5, 2014.
It was the second attack at the house that year - thugs tried to break in a few months earlier.
The dispute that led to Ryan's murder this week was not the first time he had been entangled in a feud with a dangerous north Dublin drugs mob.
Ryan came out the better from the last feud, which was with rival gangster Michael 'Micka' Kelly. Ryan was the chief suspect for murdering Kelly, nicknamed 'The Panda', in September 2011 and then driving over his head.
However, gardai could never get enough evidence to charge him with the murder itself. They charged him instead with firearms offences linked to the killing, but he was never convicted.
In October 2013, Ryan and his close pal Darragh Evans (25) were cleared by the Special Criminal Court of possession of an assault rifle and a handgun at Clonshaugh Walk, Coolock, on September 15, 2011 - the same day on which drugs trafficker Kelly was shot dead.
The non-jury court ruled there was an "insufficient evidential basis" to find Ryan and Evans were guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
Both men had pleaded not guilty to the possession of an AKM assault rifle and Webley revolver MkV1 and spent a year in prison on remand.