A man expelled from the Continuity IRA for criminal activity was shot dead yesterday [Friday] at a diesel depot he operated.
Three men ran from a car and opened fire on Tommy Crossan in a daylight attack off the Springfield Road, shocking shoppers and mass-goers. The car used in the attack was found burned out a short distance away, at Beechmount Grove.
Known as ‘Teflon Tommy’ for his ability to escape arrest despite openly trading in illegal fuel, Crossan was expelled from the Continuity IRA three years ago. There were allegations he was pocketing funds raised in the organisation’s name, and he was also accused of acting as an informer after the PSNI made a number of arms finds.
The dead man had been recently linked with a group which used the name ‘Irish Volunteers’ before it was ordered to disband by the larger breakaway group, Oglaigh na hEireann. Oglaigh na hEireann have been active recently and claimed responsibility for a unrelated attack at a licensed premises in north Belfast earlier this month.
The group said they were acting in response to “demand from the community” after allegations of criminality and anti-social activity in the vicinity of the bar. The statement said that “individuals frequenting the bar” had been warned about ongoing criminality but that had “gone unheeded”.
Despite facing death threats from a number of sources, Crossan remained active in the heart of west Belfast until Friday’s brazen attack.
The killing has been condemned by nationalist politicians. The SDLP’s Colin Keenan said there was a “real sense of shock”. “We have long hoped that the shadow of death had been lifted from west Belfast,” he said.
Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness sympathised with the family of the dead man. “Nothing that is claimed by the criminals responsible can justify it,” he said.