A founder member of a Sinn Fein breakaway group was assassinated on Thursday in an attack which has shocked the broader republican community in Dublin.
Liam Kenny, a 53-year-old father of four, was shot dead just after 4am yesterday at his home in Clondalkin, apparently by a criminal gang infuriated by his active opposition to the drugs trade.
A gang of armed and masked men called to the house and tried to break down the hall door with a sledgehammer. Mr Kenny had been out in a pub celebrating his birthday and was awake downstairs when the gang tried to break in.
When they were unable to break the door down, one of the men discharged shots from a handgun through the door into the hall, where Mr Kenny was standing. He was wounded several times in the upper body, with at least three shots hitting his lungs and heart.
Mr Kenny was taken to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. A number of members of Mr Kenny’s family were in the house at the time of the attack and were left traumatised by the murder.
Mr Kenny was a founder member of a (Limerick-based) Republican Sinn Fein breakaway group, commonly referred to as RSF, but sometimes known as ‘Real Sinn Fein’. He had recently spoken out about drugs crime in Dublin and his death came amid increasing tension between powerful drugs syndicates and elements of the ‘Continuity IRA’ in the city.
A member of Kenny’s small party said they were “in a collective state of shock” at the murder of someone they described as “a good father, grandfather, comrade, colleague.”
Republicans in the capital have also expressed anger at what they said were attempts by the Gardai police and the tabloid media to generate a potential feud by falsely blaming another IRA group, the ‘Real IRA’, for the attack.
“Liam was a lifelong republican, socialist and committed community and anti-drugs activist,” said RSF (Limerick) Ard Chomhairle [leadership] member, Brendan Casey.
“A quiet and unassuming man you would barely notice him in a crowd, that is until you spoke to him and got to know him. The intensity with which Liam spoke about things which mattered to him was an obvious sign of his commitment to all the causes in his life.
“It was a dark day for this country when a community activist was murdered for protecting his community, but like anything else in his life Liam faced it head on. The fact that Liam died at the front door of his own house protecting those inside says all that needs to be said about the man.
“We in the republican movement would like to point out that despite Garda inspired leaks and an all too willing media Liam was not murdered by other republicans... Our friend was shot down because of the stance he took both within and for his community against the death dealers that are destroying what our communities once were.
“The fact that Liam lead by example is the reason he was targeted. Liam was a committed republican who believed in a 32 county Irish socialist republic and right up until his death was playing a leading role within the movement.
“He will be sadly missed by all who knew him but will never be forgotten, both for the role he played in the fight for the freedom of this country and the freedom of communities from the stranglehold of drugs.”