Shooting victim Brian O'Reilly has told Mr Justice Michael Peart in the High Court that senior gardaí are in collusion with crime journalists to set him up to be murdered.
O’Reilly, who recently narrowly escaped death when he was shot twice in his local Bettystown, Co Meath, pub, was granted leave to seek High Court orders directing the Minister for Justice to set up an inquiry.
Barrister Alan Toal, counsel for O’Reilly, told the court his client believed gardaí had unlawfully concealed criminal intelligence relating to threats on Mr O’Reilly’s life thereby deliberately and recklessly exposing him to the risk of being shot.
He said the Minister had powers under Section 42 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007 to direct an inquiry into such a matter of public concern relating to administration, practice, procedure and conduct of the garda relative to Mr O’Reilly.
O’Reilly, described as a businessman, of Northlands, Bettystown, was also granted leave to seek an injunction restraining gardaí from passing on information in the nature of garda intelligence to certain members of the print media.
He will also ask the High Court to grant an injunction restraining gardaí from engaging in collusive conduct with journalists as might expose him to risk of being shot.
He was also granted leave to seek a court order against the Garda Commissioner compelling him to fully investigate “the sources of repeated unlawful leaks by members of the force” to journalists.
Mr Toal said the Minister had twice been advised by letter of Mr O’Reilly’s belief that garda intelligence of death threats to him had deliberately been concealed from him and which had resulted in his shooting and injury.
O’Reilly, in an affidavit, said that since a friend of his, Eamon Dunne, had been shot he had become the target of considerable media speculation that he had taken over control of the drugs and crime organisation left vacant by Dunne’s death.
“This is vehemently denied and has no basis in foundation or fact,” he said.
"Certain factions of the media, from misinformation fed to them by gardaí believed otherwise and had set about a similar campaign of hype, sensationalism, invective and deceit as previously engaged in with Eamon Dunne before his death."
He said he could not, in the interests of himself, his wife and children, sit back and countenance what in essence amounted to a deliberate and orchestrated campaign to ensure he was shot.
O’Reilly said that on August 7 last while in McDonoughs public house in Bettystown he had been confronted by two gunmen who began shooting at him clearly with a view to killing him.
Whilst shot twice he had survived and had partially recovered. Afterwards newspapers asserted he had been advised by gardaí of a threat to his life and the only way they could have known this was if the Garda had informed them.
He said he had never been advised by the Garda, prior to the pub attack, that his life was in danger. They had told him afterwards and for journalists to suggest otherwise was "blatantly untrue".
He told the court that gardaí continued to engage in a campaign of orchestrated adverse publicity about him. Particular articles referred to him as “The Dentist” based, it was alleged, on some form of fictional punishment kicking he was supposed to have meted out to some individual.
Media assertions that he was now public enemy number one and “You’re next” for shooting were examples of reckless journalism being currently engaged in with the active assistance of the Gardaí.
He said the wrongly held beliefs and distorted perception of the gardaí seemed to be that they were entitled to adjudicate upon the character of an individual and pronounce what at times amounted to "a death sentence" by inviting newspaper readers to believe that society would be better served by the elimination of one more "scumbag".
He believed the gardaí would continue to collude with certain members of the print media unless restrained by the court and had deliberately and consciously withheld information to the effect that he was to be shot.
“One can but wonder what the outcome might have been had I not been in a position to physically restrain my attackers and prevent the indiscriminate discharge of the weapons otherwise than in my direction,” he said.
Judge Peart said a case had been made out for leave for judicial review and other reliefs to be sought before the court and adjourned the proceedings until January 26.