Murdered dissident republican Michael Barr got mum to stash his haul of drugs
Tyrone mother took payment from her son and his pals to hide their cocaine and cash
A dissident republican murdered in a bloody gangland feud in Dublin had his own mother stash piles of cocaine for him in her Strabane home.
Martina ‘Teeny’ Barr – whose son Michael Barr was gunned down in a Dublin pub last Monday – was convicted in December 2014 of unlawfully possessing the huge haul of drugs.
But the 56-year-old walked free from court when her three-month prison sentence was suspended for 18 months.
Sunday Life can reveal that the grandmother’s massive cocaine, speed and synthetic cannabis stash belonged to her dissident republican drug-dealing son Michael.
The 34-year-old New IRA member, who was shot dead a week ago by the Kinihan drugs cartel, is the latest victim of a vicious gangland dispute that has so far claimed six lives.
He was murdered as revenge for providing the guns used in February’s Regency Hotel attack by the rival Hutch gang in which 34-year-old David Byrne – a Kinihan mob henchman – was killed.
A New IRA gunman from Strabane nicknamed ‘Flatcap’, who was a close friend of Michael Barr’s, was pictured fleeing the scene of the slaughter holding a pistol.
Like Barr he is also a former member of the vigilante Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) group based in Strabane which joined with the Real IRA in 2012 to form the New IRA.
Even after the merger the dissident group made a fortune extorting criminals throughout the north west who refused to hand over protection money.
Sunday Life has learned that Barr used his mother Martina’s home at Derg Villas in the Tyrone town to hide his bundles of criminal cash.
The neat terraced property was also used to stash huge quantities of cocaine, cannabis and mephedrone that RAAD seized from drug dealers with the intention of selling on.
This was done with the full knowledge of Martina who received backhander payments from her son’s gang.
But the scam was busted in January 2014 when police searched her house off the Melmount Road.
Inside officers discovered what they described as “every kind of drug” including cocaine, cannabis, mephedrone, legal highs and £54,500 stuffed inside a plastic bag.
After the raid PSNI Chief Inspector Andy Lemon said: “When officers went in they found a well-kept and plush house but there were drugs everywhere, all over the house. They did get a bit of a shock.”
Martina Barr was arrested two days later and at Strabane Magistrates Court in December 2014 she pleaded guilty to five charges of unlawfully possessing drugs including cocaine.
However, the unlikely criminal walked free from the dock after her three month jail sentence was suspended for 18 months.
What the court did not hear though was how glamorous Martina came to be in possession of such a huge quantity of drugs and cash.
Republican sources in the north west told Sunday Life that the £54,500 belonged to her son Michael Barr, a heavy cocaine user, who at the time was on bail in Dublin facing New IRA membership charges.
“Although Mickey Barr was living in Dublin he was still involved in taxing drug dealers in Strabane along with his mate Flatcap,” said an insider.
“Mickey’s Ma Martina was holding the drugs and money for them, and she took the rap for everything after the cops raided her house.”
Our sources say that not only did the £54,500 recovered by police at Martina Barr’s home come from the sale of drugs and extortion, a portion of it was also the proceeds of prostitution.
“Mickey’s gang in Strabane was also taxing hookers in Derry city and Donegal – they are the scum of the earth,” added our source.
“When Mickey was charged with New IRA membership in July 2013 he was released on bail the following month after paying a €20,000 surety. Where does a barman get money like that from?
“He was up to his neck in criminality and it’s no surprise to republicans in Strabane that he got caught up in that drugs feud in Dublin.”
Michael Barr’s RAAD gang merged with the Real IRA in the summer of 2012 to form the New IRA. By that stage he was living in Dublin, although he made frequent trips back to his native Strabane to oversee the terror gang’s criminal operations in the town.
Barr was known to have been on bad terms with INLA figures in the north west who considered him and his friend ‘Flatcap’ as gangsters and who accused him of burning cars belonging to its members.
In July 2013 Barr was one of seven men charged with New IRA membership in Dublin.
He served time on remand on the republican wing of Portlaoise prison before being freed on €20,000 bail in August of that year.
In June last year the New IRA membership charge against the Strabane man was withdrawn, although he was due to be sentenced in a Dublin court this week for handling stolen goods.
Michael Barr was shot dead last Monday night as he worked in the Sunset House bar near Croke Park in Dublin.
He had been accused by the Kinihan drugs cartel of sourcing the weapons used by the Hutch gang for its attack on the Regency Hotel in February that left David Byrne dead.
Barr’s friend and ex-RAAD member ‘Flatcap’ was one of the gunmen and was photographed running away from the scene unmasked while carrying a pistol.
In a statement earlier in the week the New IRA admitted Michael Barr was a member.
However it denied weapons belonging to the republican terror gang had been used in the Regency Hotel attack.
Days after the mass murder bid Barr’s home in Dublin was raided by gardai. The PSNI also searched Flatcap’s address in Strabane.
Republican sources told Sunday Life that the New IRA is desperate not to get drawn into the gangland feud between the Kinihan and Hutch families.
“Despite its boasts the New IRA doesn’t have the firepower to match the Kinihan gang, which could wipe it out in a heartbeat,” said a source.
“In the past few years drug dealers have murdered two senior Dublin New IRA members, Alan Ryan and Michael Barr, and the organisation hasn’t hit back. That’s proof of how weak it really is.”
Michael Barr’s killing last Monday is not the first time his family has been targeted by gunmen.
In 2002 the INLA shot his father Collie Barr in the elbows and legs in Strabane.