Cormac Berkeley
cormac berkeley

Gardaí probe heroin debt and turf-war theories as part of investigation into Dublin drug murder

Gardaí are following several lines of inquiry.

GARDAÍ INVESTIGATING THE gangland murder of Cormac Berkeley in Ronanstown yesterday are working on several motives for his death including a heroin debt and a turf war between warring criminal factions. 

Berkeley, 34, was shot dead in the front garden of his home in west Dublin shortly after 10pm on Monday night. 

From initial investigations, gardaí believe there was one gunman who fled the scene on a pushbike. 

Berkeley himself was a convicted drug dealer and had spent time in prison. Officers believe his death is due to an ongoing feud between gangs from Tallaght (where Berkeley was  originally from) and Clondalkin. The gang war between these two groups has been ongoing for nearly a decade. 

However, one major drug supplier based in Ballyfermot is understood to be the link to these gangs. He has controlled the heroin trade in Dublin and large swathes of Ireland for decades and is a feared presence in his community.

The victim of Monday night’s shooting had been officially informed by gardaí that his life was in danger and had previously escaped an attempt on his life. 

Well-placed sources have told this publication that one avenue of investigation is that Berkeley was killed over a disputed drug debt. Another possible motive is purely down to controlling the sale of heroin in certain areas – a type of turf war, according to our sources. 

The friction between these two gangs can be traced back to over a decade ago. However, like many Dublin gang feuds, members of the groups change quite frequently, some join other sides and some others try to set up their own dealing business.

This is not a feud based along familial lines – such as the Kinahan/Hutch feud, nor is it a gang feud which started due to personal fallings out. As one security source told this publication, this is “purely about money, about who is selling heroin and where they are selling it”. 

Gardaí are also trying to piece together any potential links between Monday’s murder and the gun death of Gary “The Canary” Carey  who was killed in an underground car park of a hotel in Kilmainham, Dublin 8, this summer. 


Gardaí continue to appeal for witnesses after Monday’s murder.

A post-mortem examination has been completed by the State Pathologist Dr Margot Bolster at the Dublin City Mortuary. The results of the examination are not being released for operational reasons, gardaí said. 

The forensic examination of the scene has been completed. 

A Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) has been assigned to lead the investigation from the incident room at Lucan Garda Station and a Garda Family Liaison Officer has been appointed to liaise with the family of Cormac Berkeley. 

Gardaí are continuing to appeal for witnesses, particularly anyone who was in the vicinity of Harelawn Park between 9.30pm and 10.30pm on Monday, to come forward. 

They are also appealing to those with camera footage and to motorists with dash-cam footage from the area at the time to make it available to them. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Lucan Garda Station on 01 666 7300 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111. 

Garreth MacNamee and Niall O'Connor