'Amateur' assassins are becoming increasingly common, Irish police say, as addicts are being forced into shooting people in order to discharge debts to drug dealers.

Although there have been only five murders in Dublin this year, police say that dozens of attacks have been planned or attempted but have failed or been thwarted for various reasons. However, gang feuds and inter-gang rivalries are escalating and the violence is increasing, according to the Independent.

The murder of Continuity IRA man Liam Kenny early last Thursday in Clondalkin is the fourth gang-related murder in four weeks.



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In one 24-hour period in Drimnagh in March there were 10 shootings and one grenade attack but no casualties as those responsible were teenagers with little experience or abilities other than access to guns.

It was a "miracle" there haven't been more killings this year, said a source, who added that it reflected the fact that there aren't as many professional assassins operating in the city.

'Contracts' with amateur assassins are often botched, but a few have succeeded.

Michael Taylor, 53, was murdered at a caravan park in Donabate in north Co Dublin last Monday night. The killing is related to a feud that began five years ago between two families in the north inner city, resulting in raucous scenes at Beaumont Hospital when associates of the dead men arrived at the hospital. Ambulance and police car tires were slashed, and police had to be called to restore order.

Police in Dublin say they expect the gang-related killings to rise.

After the death of gang-leader Eamon Dunne in April 2010, and the break-up of the cartel supplying heroin, cocaine and cannabis to Ireland from Spain a year ago, there has been re-aligning and splintering of gangs. This is inevitably followed by turf wars as gangs seek to assert control over areas.

Drug addicts are carrying out murders to pay off drug dealers