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Jason Hennessy Snr (40s), left, was shot in the neck and upper body during the attack. He is seen here with a family member. Paddy Cummins

Jason Hennessy Senior: Feuding, drugs and violence in his life as a west Dublin gang member

Jason Hennessy Senior died on Thursday from gunshot wounds sustained in a shooting at a restaurant in Blanchardstown, Dublin.

AS VIOLENCE ERUPTED in Corduff in Dublin in late 2018, gardaí identified Jason Hennessy Senior as a key player in a dangerous gangland feud.

That criminal dispute resulted in shots being fired outside a school in the area on one occasion and an open gun battle in a cul-de-sac between warring sides on another. 

There were stabbings, beatings and even a machete attack at Finglas Garda Station in 2019.

The man who attacked a member of the rival drugs gang with the machete in “broad daylight” was given a three-year sentence in May 2022. At his sentencing hearing, Detective Sergeant Damien Mangan said that the assault was one of more than 70 incidents related to an ongoing feud between two drugs gangs in Finglas and Blanchardstown. Both groups have committed assaults, carried out petrol bombings and fired shots at the homes of rivals, the court heard. 

The feud ignited in the wake of a split of an organised crime group that Hennessy was aligned with. Sources believe that the rift occurred because of a clash of personalities and greed.   

The original gang comprised two families which split down the middle – both sides turned their tendencies to violence on each other in the turf war over drug dealing territories.  

At the time, Dublin was in the midst of more than a dozen feuds including the Hutch/ Kinahan mayhem and also some overflow from the deadly Drogheda gangland crimes.

Other factions were also fighting in west Dublin, Ballyfermot and Tallaght, while there was some violence in south county Dublin linked to incidents in Bray, Co Wicklow.

a-forensic-investigator-speaks-to-garda-officers-at-the-scene-in-blanchardstown-dublin-where-a-man-aged-in-his-20s-was-pronounced-dead-after-being-injured-during-a-shooting-incident-at-brownes-steaGardaí at the scene of the Christmas Eve shooting in Blanchardstown, Dublin.Source: Alamy Stock Photo

‘Violent bully’

The west Dublin area has always seen a number of criminals in charge of various patches with the best power brokers making the most money. Key developments in 2018, including the shooting dead of drug dealer Eric Fowler, moved Hennessy into an unexpected position of power as violence broke out between other players in Blanchardstown.

Separately, there were disputes between smaller operators and the so-called Gucci Gang in Finglas and their leader known as Mr Flashy.

There was also violence between two factions in the Whitestown area of west Dublin in which an innocent man was killed while tending his pet pigeons in a case of mistaken identity.

Previously, Hennessy had been an ordinary worker not known to gardaí. 

But as warring factions continued to concentrate on violence toward each other, Hennessy was able to ‘move in and start dealing’, according to a source  who has dealt with gangland crime in the area. 

“All that feuding and garda activity just opened the door for Jason Hennessy Senior and his cronies to move in and start dealing but unlike other criminals he had no great business acumen or knowledge of how to run his operation,” the source said. 

“He was just a violent bully.”

One tactic he used was handing out beatings to people who owed him money for unpaid drugs. 

State response

From 2018, gardaí in nearby Blanchardstown put a plan in place to shutdown the Corduff feud and they raided a number of houses on multiple occasions, brought armed units in to respond to shootings and established a taskforce to focus attention on the gangs.

The Community Action Team (CAT) was tasked with stopping and searching the Hennessy’s along with other criminals.  

More broadly, gardaí also carried out searches across the area – including in ditches near the Sport Ireland campus – during which guns and ammunition were found, along with drugs and vast quantities of cash. 

The investigation centred around the leadership of patriarch Hennessy Senior. In one search in 2021, detectives along with specialist firearms gardaí arrived at Hennessy Senior’s door in Corduff and in the course of that interaction, he launched a tirade of verbal abuse against the investigators. 

He was brought before Blanchardstown District Court where he was fined €150, the Sunday World reported in 2022. 

Sources have said that his involvement in the drugs trade never ended and while it was not as organised as other criminals in the area, he was still making a solid living from it. 

Drug dealing is a cash rich business and making those earnings look legitimate is a major issue for criminals. Hennessy Senior struggled with it and it caught him out because the guards had charged him with money laundering. He was due to go on trial for that offence.

Sources The Journal spoke to said that Hennessy had come from nearby Finglas and worked in a breakdown recovery business before turning to crime. He had an interest in boxing but was not a talented fighter.

2 seized_90564371 Guns found during garda searches targeting participants in the Corduff Feud.

While it is now apparent that he was shot and killed by Tristan Sherry in Brownes Restaurant on Christmas Eve, Sherry had previously tried to kill a relative of Hennessy Senior.  

Now three men are before the court for the alleged murder of Sherry. 

The death of Jason Hennessy Senior leaves a vacuum that the rest of his gang may not be able to fill. 

Sources said there are fears that the Christmas Eve shooting may lead to more bloodletting as other gangs move in on what was Hennessy territory. 

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