Feud fears | 

Violent reprisals feared after James Whelan (29) dies in Finglas shooting

Following the gun killing yesterday, a picture of Whelan was posted on an anonymous TikTok account along with the caption “Go to sleep James” as well as laughing emojis, skulls and a coffin.

The murder scene at Deanstown Avenue, Finglas, where a man was shot in the early hours of yesterday morning. Photo: Gerry Mooney

James Whelan

Robin Schiller, Ken Foy and Neasa Cumiskey

Gardaí fear there will be further violence in a north-west Dublin suburb after a man was shot dead in a suspected gangland murder.

James Whelan (29) suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the chest in the Deanstown Avenue area of Finglas shortly before 4.30am yesterday.

He had links to criminals in the area and was previously described in court as being a member of an organised crime gang.

A murder investigation is under way and at this stage detectives believe he was shot dead as part of a feud between rival gangs in Finglas.

One side is led by a drug dealer in his late 20s known as ‘Mr Flashy’ while Whelan was aligned to the rival faction.

James Whelan

In recent weeks gardaí have been dealing with a number of serious incidents including a grenade attack, an abduction in broad daylight, and several assaults.

Gardaí now fear there will be further bloodshed and reprisals following the gun murder of Whelan.

It is believed two gun attacks on properties in the area within 24 hours over the weekend are also linked to the dispute.

On Friday night an innocent relative of Whelan had shots fired at their home while on Saturday afternoon his associates are suspected of targeting a house in the Deanstown area.

Gardaí at the scene of the latest gangland shooting scene, on Deanstown Avenue, Finglas, Dublin.

A number of shots were fired at the property, damaging the windows and door but no injuries were reported.

Yesterday’s killing is the first gangland murder since the fatal shooting of Pappy Lyons in Ballymun in March of last year. He was not involved in organised crime but is believed to have been targeted by a drugs gang.

While the number of gangland killings had reduced during Covid lockdowns, there are concerns that there may be a rise in drug and feud-related murders.

Emergency services were alerted to yesterday’s gun attack shortly before 4.30am and bystanders administered CPR before paramedics from the Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) arrived.

Despite their best efforts he was pronounced dead at the scene.

A garda spokesman said arrangements were being made for a post-mortem examination. He appealed for anyone with information to contact gardaí.

James Whelan was linked to criminals feuding with ‘Mr Flashy’ and had been the subject of threats on social media.

He had formerly been a close associate of ‘Mr Flashy’ and the pair were regularly spotted in each other’s company, including at a Rihanna concert in 2016.

Gardaí also previously described him in court as a member of that organised crime group in the Finglas area during an application to have €30,000 seized from Whelan. However, he split from the crime gang in recent years and became involved with a rival grouping.

Evidence was also given in the 2018 hearing that he had 57 previous convictions, mainly for road traffic offences, but including two for simple possession of drugs in 2015 and two for car theft.

The feud has seen a series of attacks, with gardaí now fearing more bloodshed following the murder.

It has also seen insults and threats made on social media, with Whelan regularly targeted by rivals online.

Following the gun killing yesterday, a picture of Whelan was posted on an anonymous TikTok account along with the caption “Go to sleep James” as well as laughing emojis, skulls and a coffin.

The feuding in the area has been simmering for several months, with gardaí attempting to clamp down on both gangs.

In February, gardaí seized a property being used as the headquarters by Mr Flashy’s gang.

Detectives also recovered two “heavy duty” firearms, more than €47,000 in cash and 300 rounds of ammunition during raids where local officers were backed up by members of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU).

It’s believed the dispute escalated when high-end watches were stolen from a close juvenile associate of Mr Flashy.

The culprit later received a severe beating, with footage of the assault being uploaded onto social media.

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Keith Connolly said Sunday’s murder is “more bad news for Finglas” and puts the area in a “bad spotlight again”.

“I think it’s really important that the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Justice allocate the correct resources in dealing with these kinds of crime-related shootings. It’s not the first time that it’s happened unfortunately.”

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