Gangland killer Brian Rattigan suspected of running major drug-dealing network after 17 years in jail
Convicted killer Brian Rattigan has re-emerged as one of the main crime figures in Dublin after spending nearly two decades in prison.
The drug dealer was jailed for 18 years, and there had been suggestions his criminal operation had diminished in that time.
However, detectives believe his gang are now among the main players in the capital’s drugs trade, and they have become a top target for gardaí.
Several recent high-value drugs seizures have been linked to Rattigan (42), while his gang is also being investigated for two murders this year.
One associate, aged in his 30s, is suspected of carrying out the fatal assault on Tony Dempsey in the north inner city in September.
The 28-year-old’s body was left in a flat run by the Peter McVerry Trust for up to a week while people came and went from the property before his remains were discovered.
Rattigan’s gang are also being investigated for the murder of criminal Gary Carey (41), who was shot outside a Kilmainham hotel last June and died several weeks later.
It is understood that as Carey was being treated at the scene, he told emergency responders that Rattigan was responsible for the shooting.
While he is not suspected of direct involvement, detectives are investigating whether he had a role in organising the attack or if west Dublin criminals were responsible.
His name, and names of his associates, are regularly being linked to serious criminal activity
Gardaí have also not ruled out that a number of different crime factions worked together in the fatal shooting.
Despite his lengthy spell behind bars, Rattigan is now believed to run a drugs network that involves associates from the south inner city, Dublin 12 and west Dublin.
He is believed to have spent much of his time recently living in the Alicante area of Spain while also travelling to the UK after his release from prison in August last year.
Rattigan had been in custody since 2003 after being charged with the murder of Declan Gavin two years earlier, a killing that sparked the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud that claimed 16 lives.
While awaiting trial, he was sentenced to four years in jail for shooting at a patrol car when he was being chased by gardaí.
Rattigan was later convicted of Gavin’s murder, and while serving that sentence was also found guilty of running a drugs operation from Portlaoise Prison.
Gardaí had seized €1m worth of heroin and linked the drugs to Rattigan. He was later jailed for 17 years.
His murder conviction was overturned in 2017, and two years later he was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment for manslaughter.
While in prison, he also had a meeting with convicted killer Freddie Thompson, the former leader of the rival crime group, with Rattigan telling the High Court there was “no bad blood” between them.
Thompson also told the court the media had fuelled the idea of a feud between the pair.
In an affidavit, Rattigan also stated he was a changed man who wants to “lead a law-abiding life”, but security sources, however, believe the opposite.
“All the intelligence indicates that this is not the case,” a source said. “His name, and names of his associates, are regularly being linked to serious criminal activity including drug seizures valued in the millions,” a source said.