Claim: Real IRA killed Corkman

The scene of the shooting at Westlawn in Wilton last week.

A group claiming to be the Real IRA has declared it was responsible for the murder of Gerard Staunton in the Cork suburb of Wilton last week.

Superintendent Charlie Barry, who is heading up the investigation, said they were following a number of lines of enquiry and any new information would be factored into the investigation.

He also revealed that a shot hit the rear seat of the car where two children of Mr Staunton’s partner were sitting at the time of the killing and that they could have been killed.

A statement has been given to Cork's Evening Echo newspaper by a group claiming to be the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, which states that the Real IRA killed Mr Staunton and threatened further action against drug dealers.

The move follows the gangland-style execution of Gerard ‘Topper’ Staunton at Westlawn estate on the Sarsfield Road at 7.50pm last Wednesday.

The statement given to the Evening Echo reads: “In our last statement, we warned drug dealers to cease their activities, but despite several individuals stopping following lengthy interrogation by ourselves, there were those who chose to continue.

“We warned them that our actions would speak louder than a thousand words and last week was testament to that.”

It goes on to say that although targeting drug dealers is not the group’s priority, “on this occasion our hand was forced.”

Senior gardaí investigating the case say they are treating the statement seriously and it is forming part of their investigation. However, they point out that various groups may falsely claim that they carried out particular actions.

Leaflets were distributed throughout Cork last September attributed to the Real IRA, threatening to kill drug dealers.

42-year-old Mr Staunton, who had a criminal conviction for drug offences, was shot once in front of his partner and his partner’s children.

In a chilling warning, the statement received by the Evening Echo warns of further violence: “For those who still have a chance to stop today, we ask you to embrace this opportunity or run the risk of suffering the same fate.

“This was not a one-off and we would like to reiterate that we will strike when we are ready and not when it is expected of us.

“When we do strike, it is not vigilante or gangland activity but military action.”

An appeal for further information from the public was aired on RTÉ’s One’s 'CrimeCall' programme last night.

Superintendent Charlie Barry said on 'CrimeCall' that shots were fired and that one of the shots entered the rear of the seat of the car where two children were seated and that they could have been killed.

Gardaí are also asking a blonde woman, aged 25-35 with shoulder-length hair, seen near the crime scene at the time of the incident to come forward.

No-one has been arrested for the murder to date.

Detectives have interviewed the partner of Mr Staunton as well as carrying out house-to-house enquiries and releasing information about the killing in the hope of receiving clues from the public.

An incident room has been set up in Togher Garda Station and can be contacted on (021) 4947129.

Anyone concerned about drug dealing in their area is urged to report it to the confidential Dial to Stop Drug Dealing on 1800-220220.

This story courtesy of the Evening Echo

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