Tag Archives: Martin Cahill

Veronica Guerin – 1958 – 1996.Life & Death

Veronica Guerin

5 July 1958 – 26 June 1996

Veronica Guerin (5 July 1958 – 26 June 1996) was an Irish crime reporter who was murdered on 26 June 1996 by drug lords, an event which helped establish the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Veronica Guerin
Veronica Guerin real person.jpg

Guerin in the 1990s
Born (1958-07-05)5 July 1958[1]
Dublin, Ireland
Died 26 June 1996(1996-06-26) (aged 37)
Naas Dual Carriageway, Newlands Cross, County Dublin
Education Trinity College, Dublin
Occupation Accountant, journalist
Years active 1990–1996
Notable credit(s)
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Graham Turley
Children Cathal


Dublin Gangland


Early and personal life

The daughter of accountant Christopher and his wife Bernadette,  Veronica was nicknamed “Ronnie.” She and her four siblings were born and brought up in Artane, Dublin, and attended Catholic school where she excelled in athletics. Besides basketball and camogie, aged 15 she played in the all-Ireland football finals with a slipped disc.  Guerin studied accountancy at Trinity College, Dublin.

Guerin married Graham Turley, and the couple had a son Cathal. A big fan of Manchester United football team, her prized possession was a photo of her and Eric Cantona taken on a visit to Old Trafford.

PR career: 1983–1990

After she graduated, her father employed her at his company; but following his death three years later, she changed professions and started a public relations firm in 1983, which she ran for seven years.

In 1983–84, she served as secretary to the Fianna Fáil group at the New Ireland Forum.[5] She served as Charles Haughey‘s personal assistant, and became a family friend, taking holidays with his children. In 1987 she served as election agent and party treasurer in Dublin North for Seán Haughey.

Journalism career: 1990–1996

In 1990, she changed careers again, switching to journalism as a reporter with the Sunday Business Post and Sunday Tribune, working under editor Damien Kiberd. Craving first-hand information, she pursued a story directly to the source with little regard for her personal safety, to engage those she deemed central to a story. This allowed her to build close relationships with both the legitimate authorities, such as the Garda Síochána (police), and the criminals, with both sides respecting her diligence by providing highly detailed information. She also reported on Irish Republican Army activities in the Republic of Ireland.

From 1994 onwards, she began to write about criminals for the Sunday Independent. Using her accountancy knowledge to trace the proceeds of illegal activity, she used street names or pseudonyms for underworld figures to avoid Irish libel laws.

When she began to cover drug dealers, and gained information from convicted drugs criminal John Traynor, she received numerous death threats. The first violence against her occurred in October 1994, when two shots were fired into her home after her story on murdered crime kingpin Martin Cahill was published. Guerin dismissed the “warning”. The day after writing an article on Gerry “The Monk” Hutch, on 30 January 1995, she answered her doorbell to a man pointing a revolver at her head. The gunman missed and shot her in the leg. Regardless, she vowed to continue her investigations. Independent Newspapers installed a security system to protect her, and the police gave her a 24-hour escort; however, she did not approve of this, saying that it hampered her work.[citation needed]

On 13 September 1995, convicted criminal John Gilligan, Traynor’s boss, attacked her when she confronted him about his lavish lifestyle with no source of income. He later called her at home and threatened to kidnap and rape her son, and kill her if she wrote anything about him.

Guerin received the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists in December 1995.


Murder Scene




Veronica Guerin – Murder


On the evening of 25 June 1996, Gilligan drug gang members Charles Bowden, Brian Meehan, Peter Mitchell and Seamus Ward had met at their distribution premises on the Greenmount Industrial Estate. Bowden, the gang’s distributor and ammunition quartermaster, had supplied the three with a Colt Python revolver loaded with .357 Magnum Semiwadcutter bullets.

On 26 June 1996, while driving her red Opel Calibra, Guerin stopped at a red traffic light on the Naas Dual Carriageway near Newlands Cross, on the outskirts of Dublin, unaware she was being followed. She was shot six times, fatally, by one of two men sitting on a motorcycle.

About an hour after Guerin was murdered, a meeting took place in Moore Street, Dublin, between Bowden, Meehan, and Mitchell. Bowden later denied under oath in court that the purpose of the meeting was the disposal of the weapon but rather that it was an excuse to appear in a public setting to place them away from the incident.

At the time of her murder, Traynor was seeking a High Court order against Guerin, to prevent her from publishing a book about his involvement in organised crime.[

Guerin was killed two days before she was due to speak at a Freedom Forum conference in London. The topic of her segment was “Dying to Tell the Story: Journalists at Risk.

Her funeral was attended by Ireland’s Taoiseach John Bruton, and the head of the armed forces. It was covered live by Raidió Teilifís Éireann. On 4 July, labour unions across Ireland called for a moment of silence in her memory, which was duly observed by people around the country. Guerin is buried in Dardistown Cemetery, County Dublin.



Ward charged with murder


Guerin’s murder caused outrage, and Taoiseach John Bruton called it “an attack on democracy”. The Oireachtas, the Irish parliament, realised the potential of using tax enforcement laws as a means of deterring and punishing criminals. Within a week of her murder, it enacted the Proceeds of Crime Act 1996 and the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996, so that assets purchased with money obtained through crime could be seized by the government. This led to the formation of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).

After the murder of Guerin, Bowden was arrested as were the other members of Gilligan’s gang who were still in Ireland. In an agreement with the Attorney General of Ireland, Bowden agreed to turn state’s witness, and become the first person to enter the Republic of Ireland’s Witness Security Programme. Granted immunity from prosecution for the murder of Guerin, he was the only witness to give evidence against all four drug gang members at their trials in the Special Criminal Court: Patrick Holland, Paul “Hippo” Ward, Brian Meehan and John Gilligan. The investigation into Guerin’s death resulted in over 150 other arrests and convictions, as well as seizures of drugs and arms. Drug crime in Ireland dropped 15 percent in the following 12 months.

Patrick “Dutchy” Holland

In 1997 while acting as a Garda witness, Bowden named Patrick “Dutchy” Holland in court as the man he supplied the gun to, and hence suspected of shooting Guerin. Holland was never convicted of the murder, and he denied the accusation up until his death in June 2009 while in prison in the UK.

In November 1998, after evidence from Bowden and others, Paul “Hippo” Ward was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison as an accomplice, because he had disposed of the murder weapon and the motorbike. This conviction was later overturned on appeal.

Brian Meehan fled to Amsterdam with Traynor (who later escaped to Portugal). After the court dismissed additional evidence from Bowden, Meehan was convicted on the testimony of gang member turned state’s witness Russell Warren, who had followed Guerin’s movements in the hours before the murder, and then called Meehan on a mobile phone with the details. Meehan was convicted of murdering Guerin, and sentenced to life imprisonment.

John Gilligan left Ireland the day before Guerin was murdered, on a flight to Amsterdam. He was arrested 12 months later in the United Kingdom trying to board a flight for Amsterdam, after a routine search of his baggage revealed $500,000 in cash. Claiming it was the proceeds of gambling, he was charged with money laundering. After a three-year legal battle, he was extradited to Ireland on 3 February 2000. Tried and acquitted of Guerin’s murder, he was later convicted of importing 20 tonnes of cannabis and sentenced to 28 years in prison, reduced to 20 years on appeal.

Pursued by CAB, in January 2008, Gilligan made a court appearance in an attempt to stop the Irish State from selling off his assets. He accused Traynor of having ordered Guerin’s murder without his permission. Despite the presiding judge’s attempt to silence Gilligan, he continued to blame a botched Gardaí investigation and planted evidence as the reason for his current imprisonment. Traynor had fled to Portugal after Guerin’s murder, and having been on the run from British authorities since 1992, resided mainly in Spain and the Netherlands from 1996 onwards. After a failed extradition from the Netherlands in 1997, which brought Meehan back to Ireland, in 2010 Traynor was arrested after a joint UK SOCA/Regiokorpsen operation in Amsterdam. Traynor, as of 2013, is living in Kent, England after serving time in an English gaol. It is reported that he is still wanted for tax evasion in Ireland.

Turley remarried in 2011


Monument to Veronica Guerin, located in Dublin Castle gardens


A memorial statue to Guerin is located in Dubh Linn Gardens, in the grounds of Dublin Castle.

On 2 May 1997, at a ceremony in Arlington, Virginia, her name and those of 38 other international journalists who died in the line of duty in 1996 were added to the Freedom Forum Journalists Memorial. Her husband addressed the audience:

“Veronica stood for freedom to write. She stood as light, and wrote of life in Ireland today, and told the truth. Veronica was not a judge, nor was she a juror, but she paid the ultimate price with the sacrifice of her life.”

In 2000, Guerin was named as one of the International Press Institute‘s 50 World Press Freedom Heroes of the past 50 years.

In 2007, the Veronica Guerin Memorial Scholarship was set up at Dublin City University, offering a bursary intended to meet the cost of fees and part of the general expenses of an MA in Journalism student who wishes to specialise in investigative journalism


The murder of Veronica Guerin


See Dublin’s deadly Gang War

david byrne bobdy

See Dublin’s deadly Gang War

18th August Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

18th August

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

Wednesday 18 August 1971

Eamon Lafferty (20), a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), was shot dead by the British Army (BA) during a gun battle in the Creggan area of Derry. Eamon McDevitt (24), a Catholic civilian who was deaf and dumb, was shot dead by the British Army in Strabane, County Tyrone.

Thursday 19 August 1971

bbc news

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was accused of political bias by the then British Minister of Defence, Lord Carrington.

[This was the first of many direct and indirect attempts by successive British governments to influence the way the media reported the conflict in Northern Ireland.]

Wednesday 18 August 1976

Brian Faulkner announced that he would be retiring from active political life.

Tuesday 18 August 1992

Jimmy Brown (36), then a member of the Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO), was shot dead in Belfast at the start of an internal IPLO feud. [It was later revealed that a new group called the Belfast Brigade of the IPLO was responsible for the killing.]

Thursday 18 August 1994

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) left an incendiary device which exploded in a Protestant public house in Belfast.

Martin Cahill (45), who was alleged to be a leading Dublin criminal, was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

He was killed while driving his car, at the junction of Oxford Road and Charleston Road, Ranelagh, Dublin.

[His nickname was ‘The General’ and his life formed the basis of a film of the same name. A second film called ‘Ordinary Decent Criminal’ also was based on aspects of his life.]

Friday 18 August 1995

Sir Hugh Annesley, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), said that he believed Irish Republican Army (IRA) units were active behind the scenes. However, he believed that the IRA ceasefire would hold.

Monday 18 August 1997

In the Student Union building in Queen’s University of Belfast, signs which were in English and Irish were removed. This was in response to a report which claimed that the Irish language alienated Protestant students by causing a “chill factor”.

[The Student Union had a policy of promoting bilingualism.]

13 Republican prisoners serving sentences in Britain had their security status reduced allowing them to be moved from Special Secure Units to main prison accommodation.

Tuesday 18 August 1998 “real” IRA Suspension of Military Actions

The “real” Irish Republican Army (rIRA) announced that “all military operations have been suspended”. The announcement came in a telephone call to the Irish News, a Northern Ireland newspaper, at 11.35 pm and the ‘suspension’ took effect from midnight. Earlier in the day the rIRA had contacted the Dublin office of the Irish News and stated that the organisation was responsible for the Omagh bombing but denied that it had deliberately set out to kill people. During the day people all over Ireland were still coming to terms with the death toll in the Omagh bomb as the first of the funerals took place. Funerals continued for the rest of the week.

Friday 18 August 2000

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) defused a pipe-bomb in Cullybackey near Ballymena, County Antrim. Police ruled out a sectarian motive for a pipe-bomb attack in which a woman in her 80’s escaped injury. The device was found by a neighbour on the windowsill of the house at Lowtown Terrace in Cullybackey at about 7.30am. The police said the fuse of the bomb had been lit but it did not explode.

Saturday 18 August 2001

The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) held a parade down the Shankill Road in Belfast. The paramilitary march involved an estimated 15,000 members of the organisation. Around 100 masked members of the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name used by the UDA, together with 16 bands took part in the parade. The event was held to commemorate Jackie Coulter (46) who was shot dead during the Loyalist feud on 21 August 2000.

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

 Today is the anniversary of the follow  people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever

– To  the Paramilitaries  –

“There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

11 people lost their lives on the 18th August between 1971 – 1994


 18 August 1971

Eamon Lafferty,   (20)

Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during gun battle, Kildrum Gardens, Creggan, Derry


 18 August 1971

Eamon McDevitt,  (24)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Deaf and dumb man, shot during street disturbances, Fountain Street, Strabane, County Tyrone.


18 August 1972
Philip Faye,   (21)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Shot at his home, Island Street, Belfast.


18 August 1972
Leonard Layfield,  (24) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while at British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), junction of Falls Road and Beechmount Avenue, Belfast.


 18 August 1972
Richard Jones,  (23) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Excise Street, off Grosvenor Road, Belfast.


 18 August 1973

Trevor Holland,   (36)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot from passing car while standing outside cafe, West Street, Edgarstown, Portadown


18 August 1976
Robert Walker,  (32)

Status: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF),

Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Found shot by the side of Flush Road, off Crumlin Road, Belfast. Ulster Defence Association (UDA) / Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) feud.


 18 August 1988
Michael Laverty,  (32)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot while renovating house, Cliftonville Road, Belfast.


18 August 1990
Andrew Bogle,  (43)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by booby trap bomb when he entered his workplace, building site, Strabane Road, Castlederg, County Tyrone.


 18 August 1992

Jimmy Brown,  (36)

Status: Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO),

Killed by: Irish People’s Liberation Organisation Belfast Brigade (IPLOBB)
Shot while sitting in his car, Clonard Street, Lower Falls, Belfast. Internal Irish People’s Liberation Oraganisation (IPLO) feud.


18 August 1994

Martin Cahill,   (45) nfNIRI
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot, while driving his car, at the junction of Oxford Road and Charleston Road, Ranelagh, Dublin. Alleged criminal.