BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK: Northern Ireland
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Tuesday, 8 August, 2000, 07:40 GMT 08:40 UK
Police probe INLA link to murder

A republican wall mural in Belfast
Detectives investigating the murder of a publican in the Republic of Ireland are examining a link with the republican Irish National Liberation Army.

Gardai are looking at the theory that Stephen Connolly was killed for refusing to pay protection money to a gang connected to the INLA.

The 26-year-old was shot several times as he left his premises in Dundalk, County Lough in the early hours of 28 July. He died later in hospital.

Mr Connolly who ran the Carlton Bar in Church Street in the town, had been sitting in a car in Park Street, when a gunman approached and fired at him.

It is thought he tried to escape and a second shot was fired at him as he tried to get out of the vehicle. A third shot was fired at him and hit him in the back as he ran away from the gunman.

The victim, who came from Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, had been targeted before when shots were fired at him last March as he left his premises.

The Gardai understand these criminals have links to the INLA and that what has happened was that Mr Connolly was refusing to pay protection money to them

Journalist Elaine Keogh

It is thought that the gang could have been either members of the INLA, or people hired by those involved in a protection racket to which Mr Connolly was refusing to pay money.

Journalist Elaine Keogh who has been following the investigation said this "fright" made Mr Connolly put the pub on the market.

"I understand that in recent weeks he had sold the business and was going to go full time into dealing with second hand cars," she said.

Drug dealers

She said that the INLA were alleged to be associated with a number of "extortion rackets" in County Lough and criminal activity in Dublin.

Ms Keogh added that Gardai suspected Mr Connolly had "fallen out" with one of the main people thought to be involved in a protection racket.

"They understand these criminals have links to the INLA and that what has happened was that Mr Connolly was refusing to pay protection money to them.

"They (Gardai) also believe that he was aware that people had been coming onto his premises to deal in drugs and he had tried himself to get rid of these people. He went to the extent of hiring door men to get rid of them.

"One of the angles being investigated by Gardai is that members of this gang had approached him and said to him: "If you pay us, we will ensure that these drug dealers stay away from your premises."

"He was not prepared to hand over money to pay for anything along these lines. He was attempting to deal with the problem in his own way."

She said Mr Connolly is also thought to have had a confrontation with a man he believed had been involved in the March incident.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Northern Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Northern Ireland stories