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Garda killer witness tells of escape from clutches of Real IRA ‘pals’

Daniel Cahill — whose testimony was crucial in the conviction of Brady — told how, while living in Dublin, he was ‘being groomed’ by criminals

Aaron Brady is serving a life sentence for the murder of Garda Adrian Donohue in Co Louth in 2013© Collins

Daniel Cahill - responsible for putting Aaron Brady behind bars

Daniel Cahill with Real Dublin IRA man Vinne Ryan (left)

Det Garda Adrian Donoghue

Ryan (Alan): Appears on charges making demands with menace from Shane and Steven Simpson, Dublin District Court, 13-5-11 Pic shows: Alan Ryan (31), Grange Abbey Drive, Donaghmede, leaving court yesterday (Fri.) where he appeared on charges of making demands with menace from Shane and Steven Simpson of the Castle Pub in Summerhill Dublin 1 in March last. Pic: Collins Courts *** Local Caption *** Crime mag republicans *** Local Caption *** Crime mag republicans

27/1/2013; Gardai outside Lordship Credit Union, where Det Garda Adrian Donohoe was killed during an attemptred armed robbery. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Patrick O'ConnellSunday World

A key witness in the trial of Aaron Brady for the murder of Garda Adrian Donohue has spoken for the first time of his association with Real IRA bosses Alan and Vincent Ryan — and of how he fled Dublin for the US after being stabbed five times.

In a podcast, Daniel Cahill — whose testimony was crucial in the conviction of Brady — told how, while living in Dublin, he was ‘being groomed’ by criminals but his mother made him leave after he was repeatedly stabbed in the front seat of a car.

Speaking of his life in Ireland, former hairdresser Cahill, who now runs a bar in the US, said: “In the neighbourhood I was in, I got into trouble – I’m like, hanging out with all the wrong people.

Daniel Cahill - responsible for putting Aaron Brady behind bars

“I’m f**king around like crazy. I never missed a day at work. I’m, like, hanging out with people who were involved in crime.

“I’m not myself committing crime but I’m definitely around it a ridiculous amount to a … high stakes … to the point where none of these people are alive anymore. And the ones who are, they’re in jail.

“So, I’m like, living this life. I’m going to the hair salon everyday and I’m hanging around these dudes who are definitely putting a skewed view on criminality.

“They didn’t call it criminality because they didn’t view themselves as criminals. But, a very skewed view.

“So, I’m very taken aback by it and also essentially being groomed to an extent.

“At a certain point, the s**t hits the fan with these guys. They get into a feud with a load of other people and I get stabbed.

“I get stabbed in the arm, I get stabbed in the leg. I get stabbed in the hand, get stabbed in the side.

Daniel Cahill with Real Dublin IRA man Vinne Ryan (left)

“I’m sitting outside my cousin’s house in a car. Some dude pulled up, jumped out of a car around the corner, ran up with a mask on, opened the car, stabbed me a heap of times.

“Next thing you know I’m, like, OK, what am I doing with my life? I have to reassess everything.

“I still always wanted to be a chef. I still always wanted to be involved with what I was in but, right now, I’m part of a lifestyle and a group of people that I can’t associate myself with.

“Thank God I was so young …

“My mother got me out. My mother was, like: ‘You got to go away. You got to go. Take your lessons. Don’t be doing any stupid s**t.

“Don’t be hanging around anybody who is involved in any craziness or anyone who is not looking out for your best interests.

Det Garda Adrian Donoghue

“The dudes I was hanging out with were like 30 years old.

“They’re older men and they’re like prominent men so, you know, as a young guy, you’re getting told: ‘Come out here with us. Do this. I got it. Don’t worry about it. I’ll pick you up.’ Anything like that, you’re catered to.

“And then something like that happens and you realise – what is going on here?

“I didn’t realise this [the stabbing] is what this life entails.

“So, I leave, and first thing I do is I come to New York.”

In his evidence at the Aaron Brady murder trial, Mr Cahill told the prosecution that he came from Dublin 13 and moved to New York in 2013 when he was 20 years old.

He started working in the Coachman’s Bar on Katona Avenue in The Bronx in December of that year and over the following two years saw Brady at the bar on most weekends.

He recalled a night when Brady was punched by another man and suffered a gash above his eye that bled heavily.

He said Brady, speaking into the bathroom mirror as he cleaned the blood from his face and hands, said he [the other man] should know better because he had shot a member of An Garda Síochána in Ireland and it was a stupid thing to retaliate or mess with him.

Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe had been shot dead during robbery at the Lordship Credit Union at Bellurgan, near Dundalk, Co Louth in January 2013.

The witness remembered a second occasion in the Coachman’s when Brady told him that he was involved in a “robbery gone wrong that had led to him shooting someone. A member of An Garda Síochána.”

The witness said: “He mentioned multiple times that he had shot a garda in the course of this robbery.”

He also described a third incident in 2015, while he was still working at the Coachman’s, where at a house party he heard Brady say that he shot a garda and, while talking about his feelings, said that it “takes a certain type of person to manage these feelings well”.

During the trial, Mr Cahill was quizzed about his background in Dublin and his prior associations with Alan Ryan and the Real IRA.

Mr Cahill accepted that he had been a childhood friend of Vincent Ryan and that he knew Dean Evans, who murdered dissident republican Peter Butterly outside the Huntsman Inn in Gormanston, Co Meath, in March 2013.

But he said he was never involved in criminality, had no interest in Mr Ryan’s “business” and that he put distance between himself and Mr Ryan when he saw Mr Ryan wearing a bulletproof vest.

Mr Cahill said the Ryans lived a couple of doors from him on the same street and as a child he would play football and hang around with Vincent Ryan.

When defence counsel Justin McQuade BL put it to Mr Cahill: “You were a member of the Ryan crew by that I mean the Dublin Real IRA,” the witness responded: “That is completely false. That is a ridiculous statement to say. I have never committed crimes like that.”

Mr McQuade subsequently apologised for the question and accepted he had overstepped the mark.

Mr Cahill was also forced to deny on the stand that he had given his statement as part of a deal with Homeland Security to avoid deportation from the United States.

Mr McQuade suggested to the witness that when Homeland Security called to his home in July 2019 to ask if he would speak to gardai about Aaron Brady his future in America “flashed before your eyes” and that he had a lot to lose.

Mr Cahill said he is married to an American citizen and that Homeland Security made it clear to him that they were there to make sure his rights were not infringed. They told him it was his choice if he wanted to make a statement.

When Mr McQuade suggested that he was presented with a situation where he must either give a statement or go to the departure gates he replied: “No sir. I am legally bound to my wife.”

He added: “I’m here to give evidence because I choose to, not because I have to.”

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