'Top boy' | 

Poster of hit crime drama among tributes left on grave of slain gangster James Whelan

A poster for the show depicting the lead characters was just one part of the elaborate arrangements for Whelan’s lavish €30,000 funeral in Finglas last week

A poster for Top Boy on James Whelan's grave

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A floral tribute featuring a poster for the British gangster drama ‘Top Boy’ was left on the grave of slain Dublin criminal James Whelan last week.

The critically acclaimed show that has been compared to Love Hate is set in the heart of London on the fictional Summerhouse estate.

It follows two notorious drug dealers who, despite a wish to lead honest lives, are corrupted by the promise of increased wealth and respect in their borough.

James Whelan

A poster for the show depicting the lead characters was just one part of the elaborate arrangements for Whelan’s lavish €30,000 funeral in Finglas last week.

On Wednesday, Whelan was buried in a funeral ‘spectacular’ – which saw motor bikes and a Lamborghini do stunts outside his home as his gold coloured casket was taken by horse-drawn carriage from his Finglas home.

Industry sources later put the cost of Whelan’s gold coloured coffin – believed to have been an American Split Lid Steel Gold casket – at in the region of €16,000.

The casket is constructed with a steel casing but loved ones have the option of choosing from a silver or gold finish.

The same source estimated the costs associated with the horse drawn carriage, at in the region of €2,000 adding hearses, musicians, church costs, flowers, burial costs and marquis hire would have brought the total cost to in excess of €30,000.

During the funeral mass, members of Whelan’s family appealed for his associates to end the cycle of gangland violence – but gardaí believe the slain criminal’s associates are now hell bent on revenge.

Tensions among Whelan’s crew have been mercilessly stoked by continuous goading online from members of Flashy’s crew – who have been blamed for the ambush killing of Whelan.

A source confirmed to the Sunday World this week that threats against Whelan prior to his death, new threats against his associates and the threats to desecrate his grave have been recorded and analysed by officers.

“As part of the investigation into this murder, all online activity relating to threats is recorded, analysed and evaluated,” the source said.

Floral tributes left on James Whelan grave.

“There is a degree of people shooting their mouths off when it comes to online threats – but if the threats are deemed serious or are coming in from more than one source that indicates they may be credible – then certainly that information is fed into the intelligence pool.”

Asked whether the threat against Whelan’s grave would be deemed a credible one, the source said: “It’s something that has happened before – not to degree that a coffin has been dug up – but graves have been desecrated.

“On at least one occasion in recent times efforts were made to dig up a coffin.

“But it is difficult to say how credible a threat like that is in this instance but the situation in Finglas is extremely tense.”

Prior to Whelan’s death, rival criminals from the Flashy gang has labelled him a rat online and in the aftermath of his killing boasted: “The Gucci gang is on top. Kippure is full of hard men. It won’t be long before Wheelan is dug up.”

Other floral tributes to James 'Whela' Whelan

Whelan was gunned down and killed in the early hours of Sunday morning, April 3.

The 29-year-old, who had over 50 convictions, had fallen out with the drug dealer nicknamed Mr Flashy after he set up his own drugs gang in Kippure.

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.

Whelan’s murder is the most significant escalation in a feud that has been brewing all year.

It has seen 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.

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

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’s understood the murder is being blamed by Whelan’s 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.

Today's Headlines

More Irish Crime

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos