A former commander of the Real IRA was shot dead in a car park yesterday after “falling foul” of the leadership of a new alliance of terror groups.
Five men arrested by gardaí near the scene in Co Meath were last night being questioned under anti-subversive legislation.
One man, in his 40s, was arrested close to the car park, and four others in their 20s were arrested when a car was stopped a short distance away on the Balscadden road. A handgun was also recovered and the car was seized.
The victim, Peter Butterly, drove into the car park at the Huntsman Inn, Gormanston, shortly after 2pm. A second car entered a few minutes later. The man was confronted by the occupants of the second car as he walked across the car park and shot a number of times.
Paramedics were unable to save his life and his body remained at the scene until 7pm last night when it was removed to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda for an autopsy by the assistant state pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar.
The 35-year-old father, with an address in Togher, Dunleer, Co, Louth, was awaiting trial last year on charges of membership of the Real IRA when the case collapsed after the Supreme Court ruled a warrant used to search his home was unconstitutional.
Security sources said Butterly had been “one of the leaders” of the Real IRA.
They said that he was sidelined soon after his release following the creation last summer of a new alliance of dissident groups and the installation of new leaders. “He had fallen foul of the new leadership,” said a security source.
The grouping, which calls itself the IRA, comprises of Real IRA factions in Dublin and Derry, the Derry-based Republican Action Against Drugs, and independent republican groupings in East Tyrone and Belfast. Gardaí have also spotted the involvement of ex-Provisional IRA activists and former members of the Real IRA in the alliance.
Security sources said the leadership of the grouping has been trying to assert its control over members of the previous groups, many of which operated independently.
The new bosses have also been targeting one of the main Real IRA factions in Dublin, centred around north Dublin.
The leader of that outfit, Alan Ryan, was gunned down last September by rival criminal bosses, from whom he was trying to extort money.
The new alliance has been unhappy that most of the money collected by the Ryan faction was not going to the so-called military cause. Since Ryan’s murder, they have targeted a number of senior members of that gang. Two of them were subjected to punishment-style shootings in Dublin last November and last January.
Gardaí have appealed for anyone with information to contact Laytown Garda Station on 041 9813320 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666111.
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