New bar: Pal of slain Real IRA boss has lots of ‘shots’ and ‘rounds’
Man who was gunned down alongside assassinated Real IRA boss Alan Ryan opens Celtic-themed bar in seaside town
A man who was injured when Real IRA leader Alan Ryan was shot dead has opened a pub in a tourist town and turned it into a monument to his beloved Celtic.
Tattooed Aaron Nealis has registered the business in the seaside town of Bundoran, Co. Donegal, and regularly serves behind the bar at the Celtic Marine.
The 34-year-old who was shot in the leg by the same gunman who killed terror chief Ryan in 2012 has also registered his intention to proceed with a High Court case against rogue Garda Jimell Henry, who embarrassed the force by selling
information to criminals in Sligo in return for cocaine.
Solicitors for Nealis gave the instructions to the courts just weeks ago, informing them that he is also making a claim against the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.
The Sunday World tracked Nealis to a republican bar in the centre of bustling Bundoran, which is positioned opposite a memorial garden to hunger strikers and where a campaign poster objecting to the extradition of Omagh bomber Liam Campbell is displayed.
Nealis registered his business interest in the Marine Bar late last year and, despite restrictions on pubs across the country due to Covid-19, has managed to keep it open throughout the pandemic, offering food to customers. A quirky advertisement on the pub’s Facebook site even jokes that the soup of the day is ‘Carlsberg’.
The Celtic Marine, which is popular with revellers, is set to host a ‘Rebel weekend’ this week with live music from popular republican songstress Eimhear Ni Glachain.
She travels around the country belting out rebel songs in chippers, pubs and even at private parties and often dresses in camouflage outfits.
Nealis once claimed he led a group of anti-drug vigilantes who went to war with notorious Sligo gangster Barry Young, who is based in the northwest and who is known to supply the region and large parts of Northern Ireland, including Belfast.
Burly Sligo native Nealis was often spotted in Ryan’s company in the months before he was murdered in Clongriffin in north Dublin.
He has told friends that he hopes to pocket a windfall once a court hears his claims against former Garda Henry.
She was investigated after suspicions were aroused by the hundreds of searches involving cases in the Sligo area which she entered on the Garda Pulse computer system.
Henry was working in Dublin at the time and had no known reason to carry out the searches, which culminated in her arrest after gardaí placed a suspected drug dealer under surveillance.
Officers discovered a phone she had dubbed ‘Gouger’, which had been used to pass information to two major figures in Sligo’s criminal underworld. She had saved their contact details under names ‘The Pharmacy’ and ‘The Child’.
A court heard she had been compromised due to a cocaine habit – but she was sentenced to three years in prison, with the final 18 months suspended.
Gardaí had become concerned in late 2014 that an organised criminal gang had access to information which appeared to be coming through the force.
During their probe of Henry, whose father was also an officer, they discovered that in one two-week period she made 980 enquiries on the Pulse system.
A massive 73 per cent of these concerned Sligo and cases which she had nothing to do with.
Under surveillance, she was seen entering a car park where she met with the drug suspect ‘The Pharmacy’. Two mobile phones were found in her car and a follow-up search uncovered drugs in her bedroom.
Nealis faced court himself last July, where it was heard he bought a ‘lost’ Garda stab vest at a street market believing his life was in danger. He pleaded guilty at Ballyshannon District Court to handling a Garda stab vest, being reckless as to whether it was stolen.
His solicitor told the court Nealis admitted the offence but claimed there was a legitimate threat to his life and that he had bought it to protect himself.
The vest had been bought at a market in Fermanagh 18 months before it was discovered in August 2017, the solicitor claimed, with no Garda markings on it.
Inspector Denis Joyce told the court that gardaí found the vest at Nealis’ home in Cartron, Sligo.
“It was a Garda stab-proof vest lost by a member in north Donegal and the serial number was on it,” he said.
Nealis registered himself as a business owner of the Marine Bar in Bundoran last November and has been photographed behind the bar since serving pints and enjoying music and chat.
Sources say he is not always at the bar but that his republican leanings have filtered through to the décor, music choices and even the new name – which he changed to represent his favourite football club.