Life sentence for man who shot gangland figure dead

A Dublin man was jailed for life by the Special Criminal Court yesterday for the murder of veteran criminal Eamon Kelly two years ago.

Sean Connolly, aged 35, of Bernard Curtis House, Bluebell, Dublin, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the murder of Kelly at Furry Park Rd, Killester, on December 4, 2012.

The court heard Connolly was arrested a short time after he shot Kelly, 65, four times in the back as he returned home from a betting shop in Killester.

Detective Garda Aine Ní Chathain of the Special Detective Unit arrested Connolly as he walked towards the entrance of Clontarf Castle 20 minutes after the shooting.

The court heard firearms residue on Connolly matched eight spent 9mm cartridges found at the murder scene, that accelerant found on his shoes matched that used to burn out a black Lexus car used in the killing, and that Connolly made admissions to gardai after his arrest in which he admitted his part in the murder.

Kelly, who had a long association with the IRA, was sentenced to 14 years in jail in 1993 for smuggling a large shipment of cocaine into the country. He was one of the first criminals jailed for importing the drug.

Kelly was linked to other major crime figures, such as Martin Hyland and Eamon Dunne and it is believed he fell foul of the Real IRA gang led by Alan Ryan, who was himself murdered by a drugs gang. It is believed that Kelly had refused to pay protection money to the Real IRA and this led to an unsuccessful attempt on his life in 2010.

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