Gangland tensions | 

Mr Flashy gang rivals appoint new boss to replace murder victim James Whelan

Gardaí believe that there is "no absolutely no doubt" that there will be reprisals for the brutal murder of Whelan

James Whelan

Ken Foy

A young mobster has already been anointed to take the place of the year's first gangland murder victim as tensions on the capital's northside remain on a knife edge this weekend.

It comes as a bitter blame game plays out among some associates of James Whelan (29), who believe that the drug dealer was the victim of a double-cross by an individual in his own gang who tipped off his waiting killers.

And with all this tension, Gardaí are braced for violence in the aftermath of the gangster's funeral next week.

Flowers and tributes at the scene of the fatal shooting of James Whelan in Deanstown Avenue in Finglas, Dublin last week. Picture by Colin Keegan

There are also huge concerns that a hapless youngster who owes a debt to Whelan's crew will be tasked with gaining revenge for the assassination.

Gardaí believe that there is "no absolutely no doubt" that there will be reprisals for the brutal murder of Whelan, who was shot dead in a hail of gunfire from a high-velocity weapon close to a property connected to his former pal turned bitter enemy 'Mr Flashy.'

‘Mr Flashy’

His death is being mourned by many of his closest associates, and armed gardaí are expected to closely monitor Whelan's funeral next week, which is expected to be "a considerable gangland event" given the dad-of-one's major criminal connections throughout the city.

While preparations are being made for his burial, the Sunday World can reveal that the gangster's associates have already made their own plans for who should succeed him.

His successor is a long-standing drug dealer from the Finglas area on Dublin's northside, aged in his early 20s.

He previously had close links to gangster Paul 'Farmer' Martin, who was shot dead in an unsolved murder in a Finglas pub 14 years ago in a hit which was orchestrated by slain gang boss Eamon 'The Don' Dunne.

Gardaí put an item into an evidence bag at the murder site

"The cycle of violence just goes on and on and on - it is intergenerational at this stage and people ask will there we ever be an end to it," a local source told the Sunday World.

What seems certain is that whoever takes over Whelan's operation - whether it's 'Farmer's' close associate or a currently jailed gangster closely linked to murdered Coolock criminal David' Fred' Lynch - violence is expected to follow.

Whelan cut ties with the Kinahan-linked 'Mr Flashy' crew to set up his own network in the Kippure area of Finglas and subsequently became a hate figure among his former best pals.

The tensions between the two crews arose because Whelan was making huge money from the so-called 'Scooter gang', who were running his lucrative drugs business in the locality.

This crew of mainly teenagers and men aged in their early 20s use electric scooters to collect quantities of cannabis herb and cocaine from various stash houses and waste ground locations, which are then sold in street deals in the Finglas area.

Gardaí gather evidence at the spot where James Whelan was shot dead

"The big issue is that one of these young fellas is most likely going to be tasked with the job of carrying out a revenge hit for the Whelan murder," a source told the Sunday World.

"This might be an individual that only owes them a few hundred quid and they are facing the possibility of having to attempt to murder someone to pay off their debt.

"That is just the way it is here and has been - there have been incidents of young fellas taking their own lives over the pressure of being ordered to kill someone else with the gangs in Finglas. But that is not a new thing - it is going on for over 20 years," the source added.

However, what has changed since the days of the late 1990s, when the likes of gang boss Martin 'Marlo' Hyland became big players in the locality, is that the reckless cocaine-fuelled thugs involved in the current feud are continuously using social media to taunt, threaten and goad their rivals."

Gardaí seal off the area of Deanstown Avenue, Finglas, after James Whelan’s murder

Whelan had been the victim of sustained attacks on social media in the weeks before he was fatally shot in the chest last Sunday - but the gangster was only dead a matter of hours when the internet war continued at a disturbing pace.

Taunting from both rival criminal factions started almost immediately, with friends of Whelan vowing that they would avenge the murder of "the boss" as they described him, before stating: "We will finish this for you bro, once and for all."

The other faction responded by posting a video online of the murder victim, before writing: "What did them bullets taste like, James?"

It is the just the latest instalment in a feud that has been brewing all year.

This has led to a number of tit-for-tat incidents, including an attack carried out by Whelan's associates where an innocent family had a lucky escape when a bomb, believed to be a grenade, was thrown at their home.

Flowers left close to the scene where James Whelan was murdered

After the wrong home was struck, Whelan subsequently attempted to carry out an attack on the original target in the early hours of last Sunday morning but his rivals in the 'Mr Flashy' gang were waiting for him.

Local sources said last night that the belief among Whelan's closest pals is that the 'Mr Flashy' gang had been tipped off that the drug dealer was on his way to carry out an attack.

This gave them time to arm themselves with a high-velocity weapon which was used to murder Whelan and fire at some other men who were suspected of being with him for the botched gangland attack.

It emerged during the week that the murder is being blamed by his associates on a very close junior associate of the drug dealer nicknamed 'Mr Flashy', who may have even spotted Whelan coming on a CCTV system before firing indiscriminately at his would-be attackers.

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