Gun terror | 

The horrific shootings, murder-suicide and botched hits that rocked Ireland in 2021

There were a total of four fatal shootings this year including two people shot dead in a murder-suicide by a man who then took his own life.
A shelter covers the spot where Conor O’Brien’s body was discovered.

A shelter covers the spot where Conor O’Brien’s body was discovered.

Alan Sherry

FATAL shootings remained low in Ireland in 2021 for the second year in a row but there were several people lucky to escape with their lives following gun attacks throughout the year.

There were a total of four fatal shootings this year including two people shot dead in a murder-suicide by a man who then took his own life.

Morris ‘Mossie’ O’Sullivan shot his wife Eileen, 56, and son Jamie, 24, at their home in Lixnaw, Co Kerry in September before taking his own life in September.

Patrick Caslin, 26, died in hospital in November days after being found on the ground in Finglas with a gunshot wound to the head but Gardaí suspect he may have shot himself accidentally.

Patrick ‘Pappy’ Lyons, 44, who was shot dead by a local gang in Ballymun in February and Conor O’Brien who was shot dead in Meath in August.

Shooting victim Patrick 'Pappy' Lyons

Shooting victim Patrick 'Pappy' Lyons

Lyons was shot dead was shot dead in Belclare Terrace in Poppintree in a targeted killing on February 11.

The 44-year-old father-of-two was a drug user with minor convictions but was not considered a major criminal.

Gardai initially were baffled as to why he was targeted but the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission subsequently launched probe into whether some gardaí were aware of threats to Lyons' life before the shooting but didn’t disclose this to other gardai until days after the killing.

The probe which remains ongoing was examining claims that officers received information about a threat to Lyons' life 24 hours before his murder but did not tell Lyons and did not tell the investigation team for four days about the threat.

All three gardai had been part of the investigation into Lyons' murder and attended case conferences over the murder but were taken off the case when the claims emerged; however, they were not suspended from duty.

A local gang from the Ballymun area are suspected of carrying out the killing but no one has been charged in connection with the case.

While fatal shootings were low this year, there were also several non-fatal shootings where the targets survived.

Two weeks after Lyons was shot dead, a 17-year-old boy was lucky to escape with his life after being shot twice on Eugene Street in Dublin 8.

Stephen Mulvey (29) and Jamie Berry, (25) both with addresses at Leo Fitzgerald house, Dublin 2, were both arrested and charged in connection with the shooting in April.

Dublin mother Sinead Connolly was left with “catastrophic” injures after she was shot in Dublin in March.

Sinead Connolly who was injured in the March 6 shooting

Sinead Connolly who was injured in the March 6 shooting

She was shot multiple times in the hallway of her second floor flat at Bernard Curtis House, in Bluebell, in the south of the city, on the afternoon of March 6 last.

Joseph Byrne, 32, of La Touche Road, Bluebell, had been charged with attempted murder of the mother-of-one.

He also faces an additional firearms charge for possessing a G9A Grand Power semi-automatic handgun, at Bluebell Road, with intent to enable another person to endanger life on the same date.

Two gardai were shot during a siege at a house in Whitechapel Grove, Clonsilla, Dublin on May 25th.

One detective was shot in the foot while another was shot in the hand while surrounding a house during the two hour siege.

Daniel Goulding, 38, with an address in Whitechapel Grove, was charged with attempted murder in relation to the incident. He was also charged with unlawful possession of two 63 PM RAK type sub-machine guns with intent to endanger life, and unlawfully possessing a Makarov 9 mm pistol and 74 rounds of various types of ammunition.

When Goulding appeared in court charged in relation to the shooting, Detective Sergeant Michael Redmond said gardai were alerted at 7.04pm on May 25 about gunshots in the vicinity of Whitechapel Grove.

He said the two detectives, who the court ordered cannot currently be named, arrived at the scene and “almost immediately came under fire” from a man in an upstairs bedroom of Mr Goulding’s home.

They took cover behind an unmarked patrol car which was struck a number of times.

The detectives were shot in their left legs and one of them was struck in his left hand.

A homeless man was found by emergency services after being shot in the side of his body outside Belcamp College near Darndale in north Dublin on August 11.

The man who is aged in his 30s survived the attack but no-one has been charged in relation to the shooting. The man was not involved in gangland crime and the incident may not have been a murder attempt.

Conor O’ Brien, 19, was shot dead outside the property where he was living in Co. Meath on August 27.

He discovered with a gunshot wound to his chest outside the property where he was living on the Trim Road in Enfield.

Conor O’Brien (An Garda Siochana/PA)

Conor O’Brien (An Garda Siochana/PA)

Earl McKevitt, with an address at Avondale Park, Mullhuddart in Dublin 15, was charged with Mr O’Brien’s murder in September.

The accused, who is unemployed, was also charged with five firearms offences relating to an incident at a Carlow hotel on August 31.

This includes two offences relating to the possession of a 9mm HS model semi-automatic pistol, two offences relating to the possession of six rounds of 9mm Luger ammunition, and possession of a blade.

Drug dealer Gary ‘the Canary’ Carey cheated death when a gunman shot him in Ballyfermot, south Dublin, on November 17.

Carey, 40, from Islandbridge Court in Dublin, was sitting in a car outside a house on Ballyfermot Crescent when a gunman fired up to 10 shots at him hitting him twice.

Carey survived a previous attempt on his life last March when a gunman opened fire on him in Ballyfermot but he did not report the attack to gardai. A young criminal from Ballyfermot was the suspect in the March attack and gardai are probing whether the two shootings are linked.

Carey is considered a significant player in the drugs trade in Dublin and has been the target of numerous garda operations.

His brother Darren was one of two men murdered by notorious criminal Mark 'the Guinea Pig' Desmond just before New Year’s Eve in 2000.

A man aged in his 40s was arrested in connection with the shooting in December.

Innocent mechanic Tommy McDonnell was seriously injured in a gun attack in Tallaght on December 3rd.

He was struck in the neck and chest after being attacked in his rented garage.

Gardaí believe the innocent 58-year-old, who has no involvement in crime, was mistakenly targeted because a man known to him owes a major debt.

The hitmen involved in the attack set accidentally set themselves on fire twice while burning out getaway cars.


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