Ireland: Taxpayers footing bill as gangland bosses extort builders out of millions across Dublin - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Ireland Taxpayers footing bill as gangland bosses extort builders out of millions across Dublin

14:40  12 october  2019
14:40  12 october  2019 Source:   dublinlive.ie

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a man smiling for the camera: Derek 'Dee Dee' O'Driscoll © Provided by Reach Publishing Services Limited Derek 'Dee Dee' O'Driscoll

Gangland criminals are extorting builders out of millions of euro on sites across Dublin – and the taxpayer is often footing the bill, Dublin Live can reveal.

Senior security sources said Mafia-like rackets are rife in the north and west of the capital, as well as parts of the inner-city.

One revealed last night: “The scale of this is huge. It is rampant across parts of the city.

“I’d go as far as to say it is now endemic in the building industry.”

Where social and affordable housing is being built, it is the taxpayer who eventually pays up in the criminal protection scandal, funding a luxury lifestyle for the gangsters.

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Detectives have now revealed the enormous scale of the enterprise and declared they don’t have the anti-racketeering laws to fight it.

Officers are now investigating if there are further scandals like the one involving Dublin City Council where two criminals were paid €553,000 for “security’ by builders.

The three construction firms later recouped the money from the local authority.

The furore has caused a huge political scandal and there are now joint Garda and council probes.

On Tuesday it emerged mobsters Derek “Dee Dee” O’Driscoll, 46, and his 36-year-old hardman enforcer David Reilly were paid more than €500,000 to provide security for three building firms across West Dublin

The source added: “O’Driscoll and Reilly are just the tip of the iceberg.

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“There is organised extortion on a grand scale – it is the first time anything of this magnitude has come to light.

“It is a very worrying development because we don’t have the proper legislation to combat it.

“Of course we have the Criminal Assets Bureau who can seize the criminals’ money – but to actually bring charges is a whole different matter.

“To prove extortion is very complex and difficult legally. We need laws like the US authorities were given to take on the Mafia racketeering.”

Dublin Live has learned criminals often start up protests posing as concerned citizens, blocking construction traffic and forcing the developer to give in.

The source said: “And if that doesn’t work, the criminals up the intimidation and begin attacking builders, equipment and vandalising sites. Often the builders just give up and decide to pay the criminals because they fear reprisals if they don’t.

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“Plus if they cannot get their job finished and are forced off a site, they are down millions. So they pay up.

“It is more effective for them – and for the most part they never report it to gardai.”

Detective units across the city are stretched to the limit and don’t have the manpower or the legislation to investigate the racketeering.

Another source claimed the intimidation is going on “everywhere” and is fast becoming an epidemic.

Senior gardai across the country are now being asked by HQ to see if there are reports of extortion of builders in their areas – and whether any local authorities paid out money to other gangland bosses.

The scandal was exposed on Tuesday when the High Court ruled €250,000 in a number of bank accounts linked to O’Driscoll and Reilly were the proceeds of crime.

The money was seized by the CAB in a major victory.

The High Court heard the three firms, one working for the City Council, paid €1,200 to €1,500 a week to O’Driscoll.

It emerged officials urged that protection be paid after a spate of attacks on sites in 2016 and 2017.

Diggers were set ablaze with drivers still inside and one worker was hit with bricks while trying to flee. There is no suggestion the companies who paid the criminals were involved in any wrongdoing.

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The campaign of intimidation only stopped when firms working for the City Council and Co-operative Housing Ireland in Cherry Orchard, West Dublin, paid over money.

The court heard O’Driscoll, of Croftwood Grove, Ballyfermot, and Reilly, of Croftwood Park, were drug dealers involved in the supply of heroin, cocaine and cannabis.

The pair are major gangland figures – O’Driscoll has 20 previous convictions going back more than two decades while Reilly has 59.

The pair enjoy a lavish lifestyle, splashing out on foreign holidays and luxury cars. One senior source added: “Reilly is cash rich and loves to show it off. At a function in Ibiza four weeks ago, he splashed out a five-figure sum behind a bar buying drinks for all around him.”

The CAB tackled the pair of drug dealers under the Proceeds Of Crime Act 1996, seizing the money they had extorted from the building companies.

The source said: “The CAB have frozen €250,000, but the pair made far more than that. They had to set up bank accounts and look legitimate in order to be paid by the builders.

“CAB traced €553,000 paid to the pair, who claimed they had set up an honest fencing company and were providing security.

"But it was all bogus and simply a front in order to put the squeeze on the builders and hit them for hundreds of thousands of euro. We need resources from Government, we need legislation, otherwise these criminals are just literally laughing all the way to the bank – with taxpayers’ money.”

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Dublin City Council denied it paid the criminals directly. But it did not address claims officials advised firms to do so and later claim the money back.

Dublin Live can reveal Reilly also had a horsebox and a mobile home seized by the CAB.

A criminal probe into the actions of O’Driscoll and Reilly is also under way.

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