Irish to seize homes of notorious gangster

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The Independent Online

Ten years after his violent death, the authorities in Ireland continue to pursue the ill-gotten gains of "the General", the most notorious gangster ever to emerge from Dublin's criminal underworld.

Ten years after his violent death, the authorities in Ireland continue to pursue the ill-gotten gains of "the General", the most notorious gangster ever to emerge from Dublin's criminal underworld.

At a hearing next month, initiated by the Criminal Assets Bureau, they will make legal moves to seize properties owned by Martin Cahill, whose exploits included the theft of old master paintings and the crucifixion of an associate. His memory has remained fresh in the Irish consciousness, largely because of two movies based on his life, starring Kevin Spacey and Dermot Gleeson.

His exploits were so blatant that they were regarded as a direct challenge to the authorities, but he was shot dead in August 1994 by the IRA, which accused him of helping loyalist paramilitaries stage an attack on a Dublin pub in which an IRA member was killed.

Cahill, who did not drink, smoke or take drugs, had an unorthodox home life. He fathered nine children, five with his wife and four with her sister.

He reputedly paid £80,000 in cash for one house in an upmarket part of Dublin. Political pressure led the Irish police to mount surveillance on his house, with police on patrol day and night. But it was not enough to stop his activities or to protect him from the IRA.

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