Tensions high between feuding groups as detectives probe shooting of man (29)
The Dublin gangland gun murder of James Whelan is being blamed by his associates on a very close junior associate of the drug dealer nicknamed ‘Mr Flashy’, it can be revealed.
It is understood that the murder suspect, who is aged in his early 20s, is in hiding after detectives searched a property connected to him on Sunday afternoon.
Tensions remain high in the troubled north Dublin suburb of Finglas after Whelan (29) was shot dead in the Deanstown Avenue area at around 4.30am on Sunday.
Taunting from both rival criminal factions continued on social media, with pals of Whelan vowing to avenge the murder of “the boss”, as they described him, before stating: “We will finish this for you bro once and for all.”
The other faction responded by posting a video online in which they uploaded photos of the murder victim before writing: “What did them bullets taste like James?”
On Monday, a source said: “It has always been said that the level of hatred in this feud has been off the charts and there can be no doubt that this vicious feuding on social media proves that.”
Drug dealer Whelan was once a key member of the Mr Flashy crime network but in recent times he had been a senior player in a gang of young dealers who use electric bikes and electric scooters to deal crack cocaine and cannabis in the northside suburb.
This brought him into direct confrontation with Mr Flashy (27) and his gang.
Whelan had been subjected to threats and taunts on social media in the months before he was murdered after a number of feud incidents in Finglas.
“What his associates are claiming is that Whelan and at least one other criminal were in the Deanstown area on Sunday morning to shoot up a house or worse,” a local source said.
“But they were spotted by Mr Flashy’s close younger associate on a CCTV system and he fired a number of shots at them indiscriminately, and at least one of these fatally hit Whelan in the chest.
“There is also talk that Whelan returned fire in the course of this incident.”
The scene of the murder in Finglas remained sealed-off on Monday afternoon and no arrests have yet been made.
Sources said Whelan was making an “absolute fortune” from drug dealing in recent times and had “put a six-figure” bounty on the head of his one-time pal, but now his hated enemy, Mr Flashy.
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.
A number of shots were fired at the property, damaging the windows and door, but no injuries were reported.
All this inflamed tensions in a gangland feud that has spiralled out of control since January.
Whelan had been one of the main antagonists in this feud and his associates are suspected of assaulting a close associate of Mr Flashy and stealing a high-end watch from him on a Dublin Bus, which in turn led to a brutal assault on a juvenile.
This has led to a number of tit-for-tat incidents, including a grenade attack carried out by Whelan’s associates in which an innocent family had a lucky escape when a bomb, believed to be a grenade, was thrown at their home instead of the intended property.
The bungling gangsters targeted the wrong house in the attack and the suspected grenade exploded in the back garden of the property, causing damage to a door and a window and leaving “a large hole in the ground”.
Whelan’s younger associates are also the chief suspects for an incident in which a 22-year-old victim was forced into a car in the Finglas area by a group of men who were armed with a hammer. Footage of the incident shared on social media showed the group dragging the man into a people carrier on the Finglas Road before the vehicle speed off.
The victim suffered serious injuries and was targeted because his associates were blamed for an earlier vicious feud assault.