08 October 2005

Provo quizzed over murder returned to jail

Belfast Telegraph

08 October 2005

An IRA man questioned by gardai over the murder of Joseph Rafferty in Dublin has been returned to prison without charge.

The man is allegedly the friend of an IRA member suspected of gunning down the 29-year-old father of one outside his Ongar apartment on April 12 last year over a jealous grudge.

The Provisional, currently serving a prison sentence, was quizzed by detectives for two hours in connection with the Rafferty case.

He is an associate of the man gardai believe murdered the courier, who was originally from Fenian Street in Dublin.

The IRA man was approached by Mr Rafferty's family before the murder, pleading in vain that a death threat against their brother be lifted.

The Rafferty family also approached Sinn Féin councillor Daithi Doolan on three separate occasions prior to the shooting.

Sources indicate that the gunman, in his mid 30s, is a close friend of one of Doolan's election workers and claim the Sinn Fein man knows exactly who he is.

The courier was murdered over a dispute that stemmed from a row in a south inner city hotel bar last October.

After the row, Joseph Rafferty was told he was "going to get it from the 'RA".

Detectives investigating the case believe the killer watched Joseph Rafferty for two weeks before he dressed as a construction worker, drew a sawn-off shotgun and shot him outside his home.

An eyewitness is said to have identified the killer as he walked away from the scene.

Sources say the gunman is a well-known figure in the Grand Canal Street area of the city and is well known as an IRA member.

Associates of the man have mounted a campaign of intimidation against the Rafferty family in the wake of the killing.

The family has recently warned Councillor Daithi Doolan that they will seek a court injunction against him if he continues to use references to the murder in his campaign literature. The family claim that Doolan has been constantly "plaguing" them by calling to their home, which has led them to consider the legal action.

The family dismissed an invitation to meet Gerry Adams as a PR stunt. The case has been compared to that of murdered Belfast man Robert McCartney. Both families met in Belfast last month.

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