Martin ‘The Viper’ Foley taken to hospital complaining of heart issue

Martin Foley
Martin Foley

Martin ‘The Viper’ Foley was hospitalised today after he complained of a heart issue while in garda custody.

The 64-year-old, who was being questioned along with another man in connection with an incident that occurred at the Milano Jewellery store yesterday, was taken to the Mater Hospital today.

Foley and his 37-year-old associate were arrested for allegedly threatening a female employee at the Milano jewellers in Dublin’s Ilac Centre.

Reports indicate that Foley was in dispute with the business over an item of jewellery he had left in to be sold.

The item, which is understood to be valued at around €3,000, was left into the jeweller's by Foley about three weeks ago.

However, within the last fortnight, in what sources call "a very strange development", the jeweller's became the victim of a scam.

An individual bought Foley's jewellery and left the store before it became known that the transaction had been declined on the buyer's card.

It is understood that gardai are investigating whether the staff member had been the victim of a confidence trick when this happened.

It has been alleged that Foley then contacted the jeweller's looking for his cash, and when he was told about what had happened and that the business did not have his cash, he allegedly made a series of increasingly threatening phone calls.

He then arrived into the jeweller's at lunchtime yesterday with his close associate and allegedly issued serious threats to a female member of staff.

Gardai were called to the scene and the veteran gangster and his pal were arrested.

The 64-year-old has a long history of involvement but only recently got married and had a child. He has more than 40 convictions, some for assault, robbery, and possession of threatening weapons.

Before settling down, he was the subject of four attempted assassinations, and has been shot over a dozen times. 

Foley has a total of 15 bullet holes in his body after surviving the murder bids. He is known as "Rasputin" among his criminal colleagues because nobody has ever been able to kill him.

After a botched hit attempt in 2000, Foley spoke about how being shot had affected him.

He said: "When you are shot on three different occasions and you have eleven holes in your body, psychologically the thing is never going to leave you and you would react to certain situations where anything bad might happen."

He was raided by the Criminal Assets Bureau late last year after being handed a bill for €916,960 from them. The bill relates to the alleged under declaration of income tax from his debt collection business Viper Recovery Agency which is now defunct.

Last October Foley spoke out saying he was infuriated that his wedding ring was taken during the dawn raid on his home in relation to his CAB bill. It is understood Revenue officials also took company accounts.