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Bloody end to reign of high-living drug dealer

Published 10/05/1999

Brendan 'Speedy' Fegan has become the latest drug dealer to die in Northern Ireland. Chief Reporter DARWIN TEMPLETON examines his life of crime and the theories surrounding his death.

Brendan 'Speedy' Fegan has become the latest drug dealer to die in Northern Ireland. Chief Reporter DARWIN TEMPLETON examines his life of crime and the theories surrounding his death.

BRENDAN 'Speedy' Fegan spent his life trying to stay one step ahead of an assassin. Yesterday one group of enemies finally caught up with him.

As a major player in the drugs trade on both sides of the border, there were a lot of people who wanted him dead.

Rival dealers eyed his extensive empire enviously. There were many criminals eager to step into his designer boots.

Then, there were the faceless money men whose cash helped Fegan finance the huge consignments of cannabis and Ecstasy he smuggled into Ireland.

Over the last year Speedy had suffered heavy losses at the hands of the Gardai and RUC drug squads. A lot of money had been lost and there were rumblings that Speedy was in trouble with powerful backers.

His latest setback may have come on Friday, when Gardai seized £800,000 of cannabis in Balbriggan.

And of course, the paramilitary godfathers were keeping a watchful eye on his activities.

He had been warned to stay out of his home town of Newry and had personally threatened local republicans during flare-ups.

Security sources suspect he may have been prepared to pay up to keep them off his back.

In the background, there were always whispers that Speedy was in cahoots with the police.

Only 24, Fegan entered the drugs underworld as a henchman for drugs baron Paddy Farrell, who was later shot dead by his mistress.

The man who earned his nickname for his manic driving during high-speed car chases with police on one occasion driving the wrong way down the hard shoulder ofthe M1 had contacts with the gang who murdered Dublin journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996.

It's thought that members of the gang who fled to Amsterdam after the killing kept open the supply routes.

But Fegan knew well the possible consequences of his involvement in drugs.

Weeks ago, he was shot during a failed murder bid in Belfast's Golden Mile, which was blamed on a rival dealer.

Last February, his pal Brendan Campbell was shot dead in Belfast, a month after he had survived another murder bid.

Both had watched with unease as the IRA, under the guise of Direct Action Against Drugs, launched a bloody purge of alleged drug dealers in 1995 and 1996, murdering eight people.

But with reported profits of up to £50,000 a week, Speedy was hooked on the cash and the lifestyle it brought.

He had a string of properties police had a baffling list of addresses for him and he was fond of the trappings of the high- life.

The only picture in circulation of Fegan shows him in the back of a hired limo with Brendan Campbell, on their way to the races. Around his neck is a chunky gold necklace and the key tool of his trade, the mobile phone, is lying on his lap. Both men enjoyed the fruits of their ill- gotten gains, but have since paid the ultimate price.

Belfast Telegraph

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