The call marked Keane Mulready-Wood’s final contact with his family before the 17-year-old was abducted, murdered and his body dismembered and dumped on a housing estate, as a warning from one crime gang to another.
Keane, who was sucked in aged 14 as a runner for one of two feuding drugs gangs, was under a curfew to be home before dark and had been observing the rules, according to a local parish priest, Fr Phil Gaffney, from the Holy Family Church. At the time of his death, he was on licence after being convicted of intimidating a local mother over the drug debts to the gang racked up by her child.
The brutal killing of “a child trying to find his way” has shocked gardai who said it marked a new low in the city’s worsening gang violence. The boy’s murder, which was followed by three gangland shootings and a stabbing in Cork, has catapulted gangland violence on the political agenda.
The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, insisted yesterday that Ireland was a “safe” country, pointing to Ireland’s “relatively low crime rate”.
This “doesn’t detract in any way from the seriousness of the crimes we have witnessed in the last number of days which are unspeakable and are appalling,” he said. The violent acts have “worried absolutely everyone” and acknowledged a “real concern”, particularly among parents who fear their children may get caught up in drugs or become victims of violence. “We will have periods where there is a spate of violence. We’ve seen that certainly in the last week. But that doesn’t mean our law and order has broken down.”
However, Micheal Martin, the Fianna Fail leader, claimed that the government was “losing control”. Harrowing details of the boy’s abduction unfolded several days last week when his severed limbs were dumped in a holdall on a housing estate in Coolock and other severed remains were discovered days later in a burnt-out car in the north inner city.
In a chilling development, it has emerged that gardai discovered a flip flop in the holdall containing Keane’s severed limbs, which they suspect is a shocking message from the Dublin gang boss who is believed to have ordered the boy’s death.
One line of inquiry is whether Keane was murdered by a Dublin gang boss aligned to one side of the feud in retribution for the murder of an ally. Detectives are also investigating whether Keane was involved in filming an assault on the Dublin gang boss, in which his gym bag was taken. The footage was later shared on social media, as were images of flip flops retrieved from the gangster’s gym bag.
Garda suspect that having murdered Keane, the Dublin gang boss left a pair of flip flops with his severed limbs as a warning to those involved.
Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan, who is leading the investigation in Drogheda, said Keane was “a child of a lost generation”. Speaking to the Sunday Independent yesterday, he said the problem was societal. He called for a public campaign, similar to the successful anti-smoking and road safety campaigns, to stop people from taking cocaine.
“We need a campaign now to stop people from taking cocaine, in dealing in cocaine and contributing to the deaths like Keane’s. I think we have to attach responsibility to the people involved in consuming cocaine.”