GARDAÍ said 10 people arrested shortly after the gangland murder of Sean Winters on Sunday night do not appear to be strongly connected to the killing.
Detectives said no motive was “jumping out” at this stage and those arrested were being quizzed on suspicion of withholding information related to the murder.
Winters was gunned down outside a gated apartment complex where he lived in the middle-class area of Portmarnock, north county Dublin, shortly after 10pm on Sunday.
The 40-year-old was shot several times, including at least once in the head, on Station Road, which links the Dart station to his complex, called the Links.
He appears to have been warned by gardaí that his life was in danger.
It’s the 16th gangland murder so far this year, 12 of which have happened in Dublin.
Winters was a well-known member of a major organised crime gang operating across north Dublin, but had few convictions.
Originally from Raheny in north Dublin, he is a father of four young children.
Garda sources said they were trying to determine the circumstances of the murder. “We don’t know if it was planned or spontaneous, were people watching him or did he get out of a car and there was a row.”
Detectives said it was “very dark” where Winters was shot and that the murder took place outside an apartment, all which may suggest it was spontaneous.
A silver Volkswagon Passat seen leaving the area was found burning in Coolock, north Dublin, before 11pm.
Garda sources said “nothing was jumping out” in terms of motive. Ten people, seven men and three women, were arrested within hours of the shooting and held under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.
There were reports that some of those arrested were connected to a well-known Dublin family linked to dissident republicans.
“Some of the people arrested have connections all over the place,” said a garda source. He said that, so far, those arrested were “not that strongly connected to the murder,” but may have information.
He said some did have links to republican groups. “That does not mean the motive is linked to that, as the same people have links to criminal groups also.”
He said gardaí are examining all possible motives for the attack, including an internal feud in Winters’ gang, which is involved in wholesale drug importation. The gang split in recent years over a drug seizure or a drug debt.
Two members of the gang, including former leader David ‘Baby Face’ Lindsay and gang member Alan Napper, disappeared in July 2008. Both men are thought to have been killed in the North by another leading gang member, who owed a multi-million euro debt to Lindsay.
Garda sources said they do not think Winters’ murder was linked to the attempted murder of gangland figure Eamonn Kelly in Killester, north Dublin, on Saturday. A convicted drug dealer and one-time associate of the Official IRA, Kelly escaped death after his attacker’s gun jammed. Kelly, 63, is denying the incident happened.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved