Fears of spiralling gang violence following three gun attacks

Fatal shooting in Clondalkin occurred hours after another man was wounded in Finglas and a gun attack in Carlow

A spate of gun attacks in Dublin and Carlow have prompted fears among law enforcement of renewed gangland violence following two years of relative calm.

On Monday night, 37-year-old Cormac Berkeley was shot dead as he sat in his car in the driveway of his home in Harelawn Park, Clondalkin.

Mr Berkeley had links to the drugs trade in the area. He had several serious previous convictions and had served time in prison. Gardaí believe his murder was related to a local feud involving organised criminal gangs.

The victim was shot at least five times in the legs and upper body. Paramedics attempted to revive him at the scene but he was pronounced dead shortly after. It is understood he lived at the property with his partner, who works in childcare, and their young child.


Christmas decorations could be seen inside the house as gardaí removed Mr Berkeley’s vehicle, an English registered Toyota Landcrusier, from the scene for technical analysis.

The victim had previously been warned by gardaí there was a threat to his life.

The property was once owned by William Gilligan, the brother of gangland leader John Gilligan but this is not believed to be connected to Monday’s shooting.

A Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) has been assigned to the case and an incident room has been set up at Lucan Garda station. Gardaí are appealing for witnesses, particularly anyone in the area with dashcam or other footage from between 9:30pm and 10:30pm on Monday.

The murder took place an hour after another gun attack on Cardiffsbridge Road in Finglas, Dublin which is believed to related to a separate drugs feud. A close associate of a major gangland figure in Finglas was shot and injured by unknown attackers.

The 21-year-old was “winged”, a garda source said, and suffered non-life threatening injuries. It is understood he was hit in the arm. However, gardaí are treating the attack as a failed murder attempt. A car believed to have been used by the two attackers was found on fire in the nearby Berryfield area.

Gardaí suspect the shooting is related to an ongoing feud involving criminal gangs in the north Dublin area. The feud has seen several gun and firebomb attacks in recent months including the murder of James Whelan in April.

Investigators believe Monday’s may have been in revenge for Mr Whelan’s murder. However sources cautioned the Finglas gang associated with the victim are involved in at least one other feud which could be connected to the attack.

There was a third gun attack on Monday when several shots were fired at a house in Co Carlow. At about 6pm, the window of the property in the Laurels Estate on Tullow Road was shot through but no injuries were reported.

The attackers fled the scene in a car. A technical analysis of the scene has been carried out and gardaí are appealing for witnesses. Gardaí believe the attack may have been targeting a well-known criminal who lives in the area and are trying to establish if it was related to either of Monday’s other gun attacks.

Gardaí are worried the series of attacks are an early sign of worsening gangland violence, fuelled by disputes over territory and a proliferation of handguns in criminal circles.

In particular, there is a fear the Finglas feud will continue to spiral, with tit-for-tat attacks resulting in further deaths. Murders relating to gang activity have declined dramatically since 2019 as a result of a large garda operation targeting the Kinahan and Hutch crime families and the imprisonment of several men known to act as murderers for hire.

However, these successes have resulted in the fragmentation of criminal groups, leading to increased competition for markets and territory.

“We can expect to see more bloodshed in Finglas at least until we get a handle on this,” a security source said.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times